PANEL: “Death and the Social Web” – Sept. 21st 2015

On Monday September 21st, WITNESS program director Sam Gregory will be participating in a panel titled “Death and the Social Web” hosted by  Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University in New York City.


Monday, September 21, 2015
Pulitzer Hall – Brown Institute for Media Innovation
6:15 pm – 8:00 pm

RSVP via Eventbrite here (recommended)

Full description:

This year we’ve seen a number of people die on our screens, from the police officer Ahmed Merabet shot in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, to Walter Scott shot in the back as he ran from police in Charleston, to Alison Parker and Adam Ward shot live on air. We’ve seen CCTV footage of a woman ‘sucked’ into a faulty escalator in China, a live Periscope stream of the immediate aftermath of the Bangkok bombing, and images of refugee children washed onto Libyan beaches.

This panel discussion will examine the issues raised by death on the social web. Should audiences be protected from these images? Does responsibility differ for news organizations versus the social platforms? Are journalists and audiences becoming desensitized? What can we learn from history about similar ‘moment of death’ images? How does culture play into what is acceptable or not?

The panel will be moderated by Emily Bell, Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.  The event’s panelists include:

Sam Gregory
Program Director, Witness

Louise Roug
Global News Editor, Mashable

Bruce Shapiro
Executive Director, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
Senior Executive Director of Professional Programs, Columbia Journalism School

Barbie Zelizer
Raymond Williams Professor of Communication
Director, Scholars Program in Culture and Communication
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

For more from WITNESS on the questions surrounding how to ethically share graphic images of human rights abuses online, check out these recent blog posts by Sam Gregory:

Seeing Aylan Kurdi, Adam Ward and Alison Parker

Images of Horror: Whose Roles and What Responsibilities?

Featured image: Syrian refugees Alan and Galip Kurdi. Both boys drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach Greece with their parents earlier this month. Image via The BBC.


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