BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa reports on the life of Jodon Romero, whose suicide following a car chase was broadcast nationally last year by Fox News. When Romero’s sister Nature asked Testa whether she’d seen the chase, she recalls, “I stumble.”
Yes, I watched the chase. Yes, I saw its awful conclusion.
But I also reported on it. I wrote about Fox’s mistake, and uploaded a video of Fox’s mistake, and helped make Fox’s mistake go viral. How do you tell a grieving sister that? Because of a “severe human error,” thousands watched her brother die in real time, but because of you, hundreds of thousands watched it later?
Testa asks Nature Romero if she has a message for those who broadcast or distributed the clip of her brother’s death. Her response? “They can never know the kind of impact that leaves, the lasting impression on us.”
“Making an editorial decision on how to cover a sensitive, tragic news event like this is never an easy one,” BuzzFeed spokesperson Ashley McCollum said last year. “But it is, indeed, a news event and we are a news organization.”
Gawker also published the clip. “When we start picking and choosing whether or not we run clearly newsworthy things based on whether or not they make us queasy, we’re in slippery slope territory,” Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan wrote.
Previously: FOX broadcasts live suicide as car chase ends in suspect shooting himself | Will TV’s long love affair with car chases come to a screeching halt as Fox broadcasts suicide live? | Family criticizes Fox for airing suicide live