Many of the Grand Forks Herald's readers apparently felt the same way. According to editor Mike Jacobs, the Herald received some 150 phone calls and 80 letters after the photos ran, most of them critical of "sensationalistic" coverage. Still, Jacobs--who plans to enter the photos in journalism contests--defends the paper's decision to run the photos. "They are some of the finest news pictures I've ever seen," he says, "and while there was a large [negative] response, it wasn't the largest response ever. I've been editor of the Herald for fifteen years, and the largest response we've ever gotten was when we canceled Spider-Man. We got close to 600 calls."
The reaction to Hylden's photos, notes Jacobs, was about on a par with reader response last summer, when the Herald ran a photo of a bloody mark left on the street after East Grand Forks police shot and killed a dog. "In fact," he says, "the chief of the East Grand Forks Police told me that they got more complaints about killing the dog than they did about killing [Hangsleben]."