Bahmfauk, IA – Worshington Elementary School is in hot water today over the controversial front page of its latest school publication, the Patriot Post. The shocking photo of a wounded mourning dove helplessly in the path of a rumbling eighteen wheel semi-truck has caused a national sensation.
The feature story, accompanied with photo and headline, was crafted by the precocious ten-year old, Charlie Crosher. Patriot Post is run by students with a loose collective of teachers who help edit and oversee the project.
“I saw the bird fall from a very tall tree,” he said, “and it broke its wing. My dad was driving his truck down the dirt road, and although he was going very slow and I could have moved the bird, I decided to pull out my phone and take a picture just before it was squashed under the tires.”
Critics of Crosher’s work, which he promptly submitted to his school’s newspaper, argue that showing a bird just before it dies is harsh, classless, and gratuitous. “Someone at the Patriot Post in Bahmfauk, Iowa needs to be fired for this.” Another person wrote online, “You mean this little prick couldn’t have saved the bird?”
The Mourning Dove perished. “I heard a crunch-crunch-crunch,” Charlie said, “as the bird’s head was ground into the hard dirt.” He said he wished he could have helped the bird, but it was more important to take as many pictures as possible.
“The bird was going to die, anyway,” the child said, “so I’m happy I snapped a photo and at least let it live forever in that way.” People will always be able to see the beautiful bird just before it was crushed, and that makes Charlie Crosher happy.
A professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism said he was not convinced that the child could have moved the bird out of the path of the slow rolling truck. “The child could not have even kicked the bird out of the way,” he said, “so I also ask, ‘What would you have done in this situation?’”
A teacher at Worshington Elementary defended the school paper’s choice to show such a horrific image on its front page. “The headline is a shocker,” he said, “we knew it when we put it to print, but we go by one rule here. If the students’ submissions are well-intentioned, we publish them. Otherwise we hurt too many feelings. Crosher’s photo was a great feat in journalism.”
The publication is in its first year, and the latest issue only its second. The Patriot Post is estimated to have a readership of between 15-40, but with this recent rash of publicity, the students are expecting a thousand percent increase.