Network TV executives haven’t decided yet how exactly they’ll handle coverage of Saddam Hussein’s execution.
You know video of the execution will be widely available. There will be quality professional coverage uploaded to web sites, and a variety of citizen media coverage available all over. Newspaper site managers are also going to have a big decision — whether to make the video available via download, Flash, direct link, or ignore it.
The citizen journalism angle will be part of the story. This is the first head-of-state execution in the era of widely dispersed citizen journalism and easily accessible video cameras.
You could argue that you shouldn’t dilute your brand by going in for the sensational and the horrid. You could argue that since the video will be easily accessible all over the net (it will probably be the single biggest download by subject, if not for one single video, on YouTube that day) that you have nothing to gain by making the video available through your own site. Or you could argue that news is news, history is history, and it isn’t always pretty. You could argue that you have an obligation to deliver the news without fear or favor and that no matter the content, the story is too big to make nice with.
I know a number of people who will be involved with this decision for newspaper sites read this blog — so, what’s your decision? How are you going to handle Saddam’s death video?
UPDATE: It’s been about two hours since I posted this. Saddam was hung within the last hour or so. I’ve already been hit by more than 50 Google searches of people looking for video of his hanging.
UPDATE II: Well, a portion of this post is rather stupid. It wasn’t a public execution. Nevermind. However, Iraq is releasing video shortly.
UPDATE III: There was somebody with a cell phone video camera at the executiion and the video is now on the web (meaning, in part, this post wasn’t so stupid after all). Nick Belardes found it and embeds it on his site. I’ve been away from the computer all day, so I have no idea how MSM is handling this.
UPDATE IV: Steve Outing also did a post on this topic and says, “No brainer. Publish.”