I’ve received several calls the last couple of days from readers expressing their displeasure over the photo of Lady Gaga at the Grammy Awards that we published on the front page of Monday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

There’s no question that the photo is bizarre, and Lady Gaga’s outfit could certainly use some more material. But I have no problem the decision to publish it, and I strongly disagree with one caller, who compared it to pornography.

Like it or not, Lady Gaga is a compelling figure in today’s pop music scene, and her performance at the Grammy Awards was important enough that producers decided to open the show with it. By publishing the photo, we were reporting on one of the more anticipated performances of the night. I think she certainly pushed the envelope, and I can see why some don’t care for her music or her outfit, but I don’t think it crossed a line to the point of being an unpublishable photo.

All that being said, it’s never our goal to intentionally offend people or publish something simply for its shock value. Instances like this are a good learning tool for us, as we’ll talk more about this photo and remember the complaints as we make decisions about similar images that will surely arise in the future.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I’d be interested to hear how more of you feel about this issue.