Take a look at this interactive graphic, and weigh in with your thoughts. Is this a good use of interactivity?
I can understand why they put an interactive graphic of his crash on the site, seeing as how the media is saturated by the story, but there is no need to put the actual pictures of his death online for the world to see. I remember watching the news and feeling appalled that they showed the film of his crash on television. But seeing this play-by-play is even worse – it’s sickening. There is no journalistic value in this. If they really wanted to show how he died, they could have used a computer-generated dummy, but even that is questionable.
I really like the interactive aspect of this slide show as it makes understanding the scene extremely easy. For someone that didn’t see any coverage of the crash on the news, simply following the 8 slides gave me a good grip on the series of events. However, I don’t think the subject matter was appropriate at all. To summarize this man’s death in 8 slides with captions and pictures that show his last seconds alive is unethical. Journalists have a responsibility to minimize harm in their reporting and it doesn’t seem like that mandate was even thought of before this was published.
I think the graphic itself that was used was interesting, and could have been valuable to, for example, show why and where the course was dangerous. However, showing the athlete’s journey to his death in the form of pictures along the course seems very inappropriate and unnecessary. It felt like something that might be watched in a court setting to help a jury understand the incident, if there was questionable play involved (and everyone watching would be cringing). For the New York Times to make this available for the public in this manner was disrespectful to the athletes family and people mourning his death. I felt uncomfortable watching it, and was surprised, even after seeing all of his other pictures leading up to it, that they actually included the pictures of his crash and death.
The actual set-up and way that the graphics were used was very intriguing. This is a very sensitive subject, especially being that so many videos of it have been circulating around the internet. As sick as it may seem, things like this are always very present in the media after they happen. I think that using the actual pictures of the deceased is not the best course of action, however. Certain parts of the graphic were more illustrated, and an illustration of what happened would have been better than using the actual pictures, for the sake of those who are not as comfortable viewing the photos knowing what happened after, and his loved ones alike. I think that overall, the idea of illustrating exactly what happened and why it happened was very good, but the actual photos being used in such a public graphic isn’t the best idea.
I think the graphic is very well put together and incredibly helpful in understanding what happened with Kumaritashvili’s death. Not very many people know what the sport Luge is, never mind what the course looks like. The first slide informs people of how long the track is and how fast average speeds can get. I think it can allow the ‘average person’ to understand what is supposed to happen and what went wrong. But I do agree with the other comments about the actually photos. I don’t think they were necessary with the graphics.
The graphic is impressive, and uses a lot of great information that can be displayed visually in order for the reader to recount what happened to the athlete. I feel that this event was very sad and there was emotional context regarding someone dying in such a tragic way, I don’t feel that it was ethical. They could have run the exact same graphic for a different sport, such as the bobsled. The media is trying to milk this story for all that it is worth, and what it comes down to is that a young man was killed because he was not capable of handling the actual course. That being said, displaying his untimely death in this type of visual is inappropriate.
I do agree that it is the job of journalists to not cause harm onto others. However, I do not see this to be as tasteless and gruesome as some responses suggest. It is not uncommon for videos of actual footage to be shown in broadcast journalism or online journalism, and at times it is the best way to get a message across. The graphic has great interactive quality, that despite one’s opinion on the subject itself, can’t be denied. As a reader/user, I clicked through every picture because it was made easy and interesting for me to follow. The photos do lead up to his death, but none of them show any sort of bloody mutilation to the athlete’s body. Also, the texts that go along with the photos are not detailed to create a more traumatic picture of his death.
It seems like the consensus is that this was a great interactive feature to explain the crash, but was highly inappropriate because of the “death” content itself. I have to agree with Gillian, though—this piece did not go overboard and explained the crash well. This was literally a “play-by-play” interactive feature to explain the crash to many people, including myself, who really had no idea what had happened. The show did not display, as Gillian said, any real bloody or gruesome photos that would ultimately change my opinion about the piece.
In this kind of event, it is difficult to distinguish what is ethical journalism and what is being pushed too far. This interactive piece is clearly addressing the technical aspect of the crash, and it does a thorough job of describing the incident. To me, the comments on each slide are written in an way that shows no emotional attachment to the crash, which proves proper journalistic integrity. The pictures may be somewhat difficult to handle, and it is strange to witness photos from someone’s death placed so closely to such matter-of-fact descriptions.
However, there is also a clear link to another article, which describes the incident in a way similar to a news article about a car accident or another untimely death. Additionally, there is a link to more pictures from the crash, and none of the pictures are nearly as graphic as those shown in the interactive slideshow. I believe this shows that the photos were only used to illustrate the technicalities of what happened, and not as a means of publicity or unethical journalism.
I think the only useful thing about this graphic is having a better understanding of why luge is such a dangerous sport. I personally don’t know very much about it, and the graphic was helpful for explaining what about the course made him likely to crash.
I know some comments were made in class about how it was his own fault that he died because he made a mistake on the course. I personally don’t think that is a fair statement. Misjudging some sections of a course are an important component of learning how to race in a new environment. It was simply a tragic accident.
I think the actual clip of the athlete hitting the pole was much worse than the graphic. It was even more horrifying to learn that he did not die instantly from the crash, but must have suffered for a while afterward until his death at a hospital.
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