Kiss In photograph rightfully published

A number of University students took issue with a photograph of two males kissing at the Queer Student Cultural Center’s Kiss In. While some students did not find the photo published last Thursday offensive, others were disturbed by The Minnesota Daily’s choice to print it. Although a picture of this nature was likely to cause a stir among students, the Daily was not wrong in printing it. The circumstances in which the photograph was printed made it newsworthy material.
In a small-town newspaper, a picture of two males kissing would likely not be deemed appropriate by that community’s standards. The standards are different for a college newspaper in a large metropolitan area, however. The context changes in a college setting where there might be more exposure to people of different skin color or sexual preference. The Daily reports on the activities of the student body, a representative sample of which is gay or lesbian. Scenes such as same-sex kissing should not be avoided if they represent the reality of campus life.
Even if kissing images are not traditional newspaper material, the content of a college newspaper is much more liberal. When the Queer Student Cultural Center hosts an event, it should be reported similarly to other highly visible campus events. When march organizers rallied against sexual violence the same day, a photo that showed the most action of marchers along the street was published. Because a picture of lips locking represented the action of the kissing event, it appropriately was published. College newspapers sometimes have a unique ability to cover non-mainstream events which they should take advantage of, rather than conform to more conservative practices.
Before making similar complaints in the future over newspaper content, opponents of the Kiss In photograph need to consider how such beliefs impose on freedom of expression values. In fact, the photograph should be used as an example of how to decide on running questionable photos. Although some viewers might disagree with the content, it was neither graphic nor obscene. The event also took place in a public setting. Along the student-infested Northrop Mall, many people witnessed the event. The photo only helps to explain what witnesses saw that day. People are frequently uncomfortable with public displays of affection, but this particular photograph captured more than a random moment between two males on campus. It represented a newsworthy event that deserved recognition in a student newspaper.
Those offended by the photograph claim that their feelings would be the same if the photo showed a man and a woman, rather than two males, kissing. This, however, is an easy and natural defense to make because it cannot be challenged. Those who oppose the photograph should really question if they are offended mainly by the content or by the subjects in it. There will always be photos and articles printed in newspapers that readers do not agree with, but the right for a newspaper to print them should not be undermined. The picture from the Kiss In is undeserving of the controversy it has caused. The Daily staff should not be admonished for choosing to print it.