After readers in Humboldt County, Calif. took offense to a cover depicting “bloody giant hooks in the back of some woman,” North Coast Journal publisher Judy Hodgson wrote a public apology in this week’s issue.
While pointing out that editor Hank Sims is responsible for choosing the story art, Hodgson acknowledges, “As publisher, I am ultimately responsible for all content.” Discussing the decision, she says:
At a meeting of the Journal staff last week, I prefaced my comments by saying this was not an easy black-and-white issue. There exists a spectrum of opinion in the community and on our own staff. How many of us have pierced ears? It’s a form of self-mutilation. Are we objecting to blood specifically? Would the hooks in the back without blood be OK? What about all those people who take their young children to church and are confronted by a bloody Christ on the cross with nails through his hands? Is that OK because we’ve become desensitized to the crucifixion? From a libertarian point of view, no one hurt someone else. The Journal cover truly was not like the woman on the cover of Time because this woman did this to herself and she did it for her own selfish reasons.
She calls the story itself “newsworthy” and “well written” and says that very few readers objected to the article. Nevertheless, she concludes, “It didn’t need that cover.”