Why the Adam Toledo video is causing some news organizations to draw a line

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from The Washington Post,

Footage of a police officer shooting and killing 13-year-old Adam Toledo “is not something you want children to see,” Chicago’s mayor said on Thursday. It is also something that several journalists decided to not show their audiences — even though the video’s release Thursday was major news and contradicted prosecutors’ earlier claim that Adam had been holding a gun when he was shot.

Instead, these news outlets — mostly based in Chicago — provided thorough descriptions of the footage, carefully chosen still images and links to the graphic video in case their readers did want to watch.

“The video and audio are traumatic not only for the family but almost anyone watching a seventh grader die in an alley,” WBEZ managing editor Tracy Brown said via email. “Those aren’t moments we want to normalize in our news coverage — or pageviews we’d be proud of.” She said the Chicago-based NPR member station decided right after the video’s release that they would not publish it or play the audio. Listeners were instead told they could go to a police oversight agency’s website to watch the footage for themselves, if they chose to.

The moves by these newsrooms come as journalists reexamine their relationship with police after George Floyd died under the knee of an officer last year. The public release of body camera videos has contradicted police versions of fatal shootings in some high-profile cases. But Danielle Kilgo, a University of Minnesota journalism professor who researches adverse media effects, said that repeated exposure to violent footage can traumatize audiences, particularly people of color, who are often the victims.

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