Monday, November 2, 2009

Would you have published the Derrion Albert video?

Should FOX Chicago have aired the disturbing video of 16 year-old Derrion Albert being beaten, resulting in his death, during a violent outburst outside of a Chicago school? Obviously the question is much larger than this single incident. Just weeks before the Derrion Albert video aired, a similar debate arose around the AP’s decision to share a graphic photograph of a wounded U.S. soldier (who died of his injuries) in Afghanistan.

Before you decide - Check out these two news reports from Fox Chicago. The broadcast on the day of the killing is before the channel received the video - The following day’s report includes the footage (don’t just watch the raw video that unfortunately wants to play first, click to watch the report so you can compare) -

Does the video help the viewer better understand the level of violence those kids live with?

Also consider this – According to kids at the school, that kind of violence had been common for months receiving little attention. After the video aired, President Obama dispatched the secretary of education and attorney general to meet with school officials and community leaders. Obama = attention (at least for a news cycle).

Think about this – The video was released along with a plea for viewers to help identify the assailants.

Next, do some online research and read some of the articles about Albert’s death. Are the stories about the tragic death of an honor student, do they stimulate conversation about the larger issue of youth violence or has the video become the story?

Finally, (like you haven’t already made up your mind) take the time to listen to FOX Chicago news director Carol Fowler explain her reasons for airing the video (talking with On The Media’s Bob Garfield). -

OK, now you can decide if it was the right decision or not.

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