When a penis shows up in a photo

Trenton Berg, 6, makes a dust angel at the Roller Odyssey in Medford on Thursday. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

As readers pointed out with many laugh-crying emojis this morning, Jamie Lusch’s photo of a kid making dust angels on the floor of the old Roller Odyssey skating rink contained a not-so-anatomically-correct drawing of a penis in the dust nearby. At least people think it is a penis. Could be a car with only two wheels, I suppose.
That particular drawing did not show up in the print version, as the reproduction in newsprint washed out that part of the photo, thank goodness. Our newsprint readers might not find men’s anatomy all that funny over their breakfast cereal.
I looked at that photo of the boy making a dust angel last night after reading the story and thought it was adorable. It didn’t occur to me to scan the rest of the floor for phallic symbols. Note to self: Kids will draw the darndest things on any surface, be it paper, dirty car windows or dusty roller rink floors. Check for body parts.)
Not that the kids in the photo drew that particular image. Anyone could’ve done that. The rink’s been closed for two years, which is a lot of time for someone to think up ways to use dust to the best advantage.
For the record, Jamie didn’t see the penis on the floor, either. We could claim our minds just don’t go there, but that would be violating our journalistic oath to always tell the truth.
For now, I’m leaving the photo as is. Kids will be kids. But I could be persuaded to crop it, if enough people find it offensive.
What say you, readers?
Postscript, 12/21: No one on our Facebook page thought we should take the photo down. The entire photo doesn’t show up on the online version of the story itself — only on the Facebook post — because of the way the photo drops into a pre-set window on our website. Just a happy accident, I guess.

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    Cathy Noah

    Believe it or not, journalists are real people, too. Editor Cathy Noah explores the inner workings of the newsroom, explaining why the Mail Tribune did — or didn't — do something that made readers angry / sad / happy / incredulous / stupefied. ... Full Profile
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