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EL CAJON SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Callers Urge Paper to Run Hero's Photo

March 23, 2001|LOUIS SAHAGUN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The San Diego Union-Tribune was inundated with telephone calls Thursday from people urging that it run a large photograph of the officer who stopped the Granite Hills High School shooting suspect high on the front page.

The hundreds of callers, who apparently were responding to a request they heard on the popular Roger Hedgecock talk radio program, placed editor Karin Winner in an uncomfortable position.

Winner said by coincidence she had been pondering how to play the photographs of the heroic officer and the troubled teenage shooter, even as the telephone calls were pouring in.

More than 200 of the calls were made between 7 and 9 p.m.

In a Solomonic move, Winner said she ultimately decided that "a picture of the shooter and the hero are both worthy of our front page. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the cop. But the shooter caused this, so he's got to be on page one as well. He's part of the story."

Although she intended to call some of the people back today, she insisted that "I can't make a news judgment based on calls from readers encouraged by radio stations to call us."

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