On the Ethics of Bad News

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On the Ethics of Bad News

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[This is a copy of my initial reaction to the media coverage of the VTech shooting, posted on my Wordpress blog. Unfortunately both links are now defunct - I wish I had saved a page of the "godblessvtech" blog, because it was to me a poignant illustration of the possibilities of the Internet for creating and reaffirming community. At the same time, however, I was disgusted by CNN's use of digital media - particularly video - to create what I saw as a voyeuristic experience of the event.]

"On the Ethics of Bad News"
Posted April 16, 2007
<a href="http://zozer319.wordpress.com/">http://zozer319.wordpress.com/</a>

I didn&#39;t really hear about this until late tonight, partly because all the people working out around me at the gym with TVs had them on stupid MTV the whole time.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you all two remarkable (for very different reasons) things I found online when doing a search for some overview of the shooting. I send them in particular because they are both temporary postings but say an awful lot:

First, a striking example of a good use of the Internet, not only to share information but as a sense of non-physical community. I found this blog (probably just set up today, for this purpose only, so not actually a blog per se) on Wordpress - it&#39;s just a list of names and people asking for information on whether the individuals listed are okay.

<a href="http://godblessvtech.wordpress.com/2007/04/16/hello-world/">http://godblessvtech.wordpress.com/2007/04/16/hello-world/</a>

Scroll down to read the progression of the information gathering and messages left. Also note the amount of information gleaned from Facebook.

Second, a striking example of outright voyeurism disguised as comprehensive journalistic coverage. In browsing CNN&#39;s coverage of the story, I was disgusted by the amount of video - not of interviews and re-runs of news stories, but the amount of direct footage of the shootings/events themselves;

<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/16/vtech.shooting/index.html">http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/16/vtech.shooting/index.html</a>

There is no clear line between information and too much information, but that might be close. Thank goodness I wasn&#39;t watching CNN today, or I probably would have got pissed off at them a lot sooner than now (not that it&#39;s just them... but if they bill themselves as the world&#39;s #1 news source I hope it&#39;s not too much to ask to hold them to some minimum standard).

Anyway, that&#39;s all I&#39;ve got. And get ready to hear about this one for weeks (not from me - from "The Media.")

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Original Source: <a href="http://zozer319.wordpress.com/2007/04/">http://zozer319.wordpress.com/2007/04/</a>

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Anna Brawley

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2007-05-23

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Anna Brawley

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eng

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Anna Brawley, "On the Ethics of Bad News," in The April 16 Archive, Item #201, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/201 (accessed November 25, 2014).