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Huckleberries Online

Ask The Editors — Why Publish Drinking Photo?

Question: I was very disappointed in the Spokesman Review publishing that huge photo of Matt and Robert’s father, Dennis, “forcing” the boys to drink alcohol at their farewell party. I hope the state of Idaho questions Mr. Shipp about serving alcohol to minors in his bar. What he wants to do in private with his boys should be kept in private rather than publicly advocating to minors that it is okay to drink. — Sandy Baker

Answer: You are not the first reader to ask about Sunday’s photo of Dennis Shipp toasting his sons, Matt and Robert, at the family-owned bar. I would argue that there are at least two clear positions on this issue. One argument is that serving alcohol to minors is against the law under any circumstance. Period. End of story. The other argument is that some circumstances call for exceptions. The second position suggests that a father who is sending his two sons off to the military ought to be able to mark the occasion in a special way. I’m not here to make a judgment on what took place at the bar. We published the photo because we felt it is a compelling and telling visual representation of how this family is marking the major step being taken by the two young men. The family has given us considerable access in recent months and they all were fully aware that we were taking pictures at the going-away festivities. Our reporter and photographer attended the induction ceremony this week and we’ll be sharing another chapter of the Shipp story with readers on Thursday — Gary Graham, managing editor

DFO: Did we make the right call?


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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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