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How much is too much?

February 15, 2010

After the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on Friday, the video of his accident was played numerous times on national and local television news outlets.  It also spread like wildfire across the Internet.

Some felt the video’s ubiquity was too much, and didn’t understand why it needed to be shown over and over.

“There’s a balance between newsworthiness and respect for the deceased athlete,” said Michael Sachs, a sport psychologist at Temple University. “It’s a very fine line to walk.”

There was also the gruesome nature of Kumaritashvili’s death.  For all the times the video was shown, those just tuning in could have had young children present, which concerned some parents.  Sachs said that prefacing each piece with a disclaimer would have been a good way to prevent young children from seeing the images.

“News affiliates choosing to air the footage could have done so with an advisory, or a warning of graphic content, for example,” he said.


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