The murder of a TV news team raises important ethical questions. To help your students explore issues about content use and sources during a tragedy, NewseumED offers two related classroom-ready case studies.
Aug. 26, 2015
The murder of a WDBJ journalist and cameraman in Virginia leaves us struggling to understand a sickening crime. It also raises important ethical questions on how the story has and continues to be covered.
News coverage of the shootings disturbed many viewers and readers as much as the event did. Some news media outlets posted images directly from the shooter’s Twitter account, including a still from a video showing a hand-held gun pointing at one of the victims just before the attack. Other outlets posted the footage captured by the WDBJ camera. Some readers have criticized these decisions for giving the perpetrator additional exposure or disrespecting the victims; others have said that the content is newsworthy and have retweeted the images and video on their own Twitter feeds.
To help your students explore the ethical questions about content use and sources during tragedy, NewseumED offers two related case studies for the classroom. “Cover Worthy” examines the decision by Rolling Stone magazine to put then-suspected Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover; “Horror on Record” examines whether the news media should air a 22-minute video created by Islamic extremists.
Thank you for this timely, relevant information that just made my job easier today!
John Paul Stevens High School teacher Christine L. Keyser-Fanick