Posted by Dom
One of the major issues the homepage team faced on Thursday was how to use the disturbing video created by Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui. I’d woken up to see the recording all over breakfast TV, so there was little doubt about how newsworthy the story was; however, concerns about glamourising or sensationalising the killer’s words were utmost in our minds as well.
The debate about whether the video should have been broadcast at all can be seen on our news message board here; unsurprisingly, it’s an issue that has raised particularly strong opinions. Once we’d made the fundamental decision that the video link needed to be on our homepage, we had the issue of placement to deal with. Different ways to use the video were debated by all of us, with a full understanding of the sensitivity of the subject matter.
Ultimately, our news module led with the factual link ‘College gunman sent package to media’ throughout Thursday, with the ‘Video: watch his confession’ link underneath. Using any of our slideshow or small picture page furniture to further highlight the recording just seemed uncomfortably tasteless and inappropriate.
What do you think – were you surprised to see the video used in any form at all on the homepage, or were you actually expecting to see it featured more heavily? Let us know your thoughts on this most difficult of areas.