YOUR VIEW: KOMU 8 responds to complaint of sensationalizing

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KINGDOM CITY-  Last month, KOMU 8 News reported on a fatal accident on I-70 near Kingdom City. 

The wreck involved three semis and four other vehicles, killing two people. 

After KOMU 8 News learned about the accident, we posted a photo of the crash site from MoDOT on our initial web story.

The use of that photo and others from the scene upset one of our viewers who said in part, "It saddens me that the media has to sensationalize a tragic accident like this with all these graphic photos. What if one of your family members was injured or killed in this accident?"

MoDOT had first posted the original photo on its twitter feed before KOMU 8 put it on Facebook.

KOMU 8 Interactive Director Annie Hammock said the photo was used due to the photo's distance from the interstate.

"It's a very distant shot," she said. "It's difficult to make out even makes and models in the original shot, but there's no identifying factors."

The use of these types of photos can often upset viewers, especially when there's a report of a death. 

MU professor Sandy Davidson said legally the photos are okay to use and in some cases are necessary when the event affects many people. 

"When you have a major traffic wreck that has tied up traffic, it has caused traffic detours, traffic backups, that is a newsworthy story," Davidson said. 

Hammock also said it is important to make sure identifying factors like license plates are not easily visible. 

"It comes down to being sensitive to the viewer and to the family," Hammock said.  "And also to the sensibility of whether something is too graphic to diseminate publicly."

So, what do you think? Was KOMU 8 wrong in its use of the photo on Facebook? Were we being sensationalist in our coverage?

We want to hear from you. Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Then watch KOMU 8 News Fridays at six for your view of the news.