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The Publishing of Disturbing Videos and Images

by on December 5, 2016

This unit discussed the need for ‘fresh’ material and new ways of conveying meaning in photojournalism.

The Nieman Report argues that journalists have been recycling the same types of photos (ie. starving children, soldiers rescuing the wounded, etc.) in efforts to invoke the same kinds of emotional responses.

But in order to find these new ways of storytelling and forming new connections and responses with viewers, we sometimes come across difficult decisions.

This unit reminded me of the videos and photos circulated when Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging in 2006. Thought to be one of the greatest enemies to the United States, Hussein’s death was celebrated by Americans as the video of his death circulated almost instantly.

I remember that reports of his last words, and pictures of his lifeless body were of common interest by many of my classmates.

An official video was released by the Iraqi government that only showed up to the moments before his death, as well as an ‘unauthorized’ video by someone who attended the execution, showing the full event.

As a major news outlet, would you decide to show any of these videos or pictures? Many news outlets linked to photo or video of the events, most of which have been removed today.

What parts, if any, need to be shown? Why? What benefit does it have for the people? If you consider it unnecessary or too graphic, why?


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