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Bloggers vs. Media on Showing Deadly Scenes

A hostage scene in Toronto ended with the hostager taker getting shot in the head by a sharpshooter. David Akin, who moderated our Fusion Power of Public and Participatory Journalism conference in Toronto, saw the raw footage. He writes at his blog:

this event was filmed from several angles by several crews many of which caught, in a very graphic medium close-up, the sniper’s bullet entering and exiting the man’s head. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of commuters and those in the surrounding office towers saw the event and the killing. And yet, no broadcaster or print outlet I know of broadcast or published a photo which showed the actual moment of the man’s death…I think this was the right way to treat this.

However, Akin was reminded of a discussion at the conference, writing:

But some bloggers at a recent Toronto conference on Participatory Journalism, who believe Big Media has too much power, say things like this should be shown on TV, that we are censoring by omission. At this conference, we were talking about the video from Iraq that showed the beheading of the American hostage. That video ended up, in all its gory detail, on the Internet. So far as I know, the gory details from yesterday’s incident in Toronto have not been shown anywhere.

I know I am a blogger, and I would neither show it nor watch it. However, I’m sure in the next blogging/journalism conference someone is going to point out that bloggers have no ethical code and use this discussion as an example, which is lumping all the bloggers together as if we are all Mr. Drudge. Thank heavens we are not. Still it is a discussion worth having. Thanks David for bringing it up.

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