Gadhafi death

Why The Ledger Independent went horizontal with Gadhafi front page

Design Editor Ian Lawson had never turned the Ledger Independent’s front page on its side before, but while designing the Friday cover that featured news of Moammar Gadhafi’s death, he tried it at the last minute.

“I just didn’t love what I had been working on for most of the two hours I get to design our A1,” he told me by email. “To be honest, I’m still waiting for the email telling me my publisher’s head exploded when he saw it.”

Lawson, who has been with the Maysville, Ky., paper for four and a half years, had no newspaper experience when he started out. But after working on inside pages — and a stint at Disney — he became head of pagination a year ago.

The recently-redesigned paper, published six days a week, has a circulation of 8,500 and is distributed in seven counties. Below are the designs Lawson rejected and the final front page published Friday morning. Read more


Not that news orgs care, but Libyan leader spelled his name ‘Moammar El-Gadhafi’

The Straight Dope

Every time the name of former Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi hits print, readers are left scratching their heads: Why can’t any two publications agree on how to spell the now deceased dictator’s name? (Poynter, incidentally, follows AP style.) Way back in the 20th century — June 20, 1986, to be exact — alternative newspaper syndicated columnist Cecil Adams was asked the same question. His answer?

“Lord knows I hate to be critical, but the proliferation of spellings for the name of Libya’s head dude has been one of the continuing scandals of American journalism. I mean, come on, we’re trying to plumb this guy’s psychic depths and we can’t even get his name straight? Sometimes I shudder for the future of my country.”

At the time, Adams easily found a dozen spellings: Qaddhafi (New York Review of Books), Qaddafi (New Republic), Gaddafi (Time), Kaddafi (Newsweek), Khadafy (Maclean’s), Qadhafi (U.S. News & World Report), Qadaffi (Business Week), and Gadaffi (World Press Review). “The Library of Congress and the Middle East Studies Association,” he added, “have a fondness for Qadhdhafi.” Explaining the disparity, according to Adams, are several factors:

“(1) There is no generally accepted authority for romanizing Arabic names, and (2) the Mummer’s name contains several sounds that have no exact equivalent in English… For many years, however, the Mummer was too busy promoting global chaos to devote much time to the niceties of orthography. That changed in May, 1986, when he responded to a letter from some second-graders at Maxfield Magnet School in St. Paul, Minnesota. The colonel signed the letter in Arabic script, beneath which was typed “Moammar El-Gadhafi.” This was the first known indication of his own feelings on the subject, and the wire services and many newspapers promptly announced they would switch.”

Despite Gaddafi weighing in on this, many news organizations ultimately did not follow his preference. Obviously. Read more

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How Al Jazeera broke the news of Gaddafi’s death

The Wrap
When Al Jazeera landed the first video of a dead Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday, there wasn’t much time for developing a global distribution strategy. In an extended Q&A with’s Lucas Shaw, news network spokesman Osama Saeed described the day.

We have maintained a strong presence in Libya even after Tripoli fell. Though there has been a general drop off, we’ve maintained our presence there. Tony knew what was happening in Sirte, and he was the first journalist in there. As such, when people had footage of what happened, he was on hand to receive it…. The footage was compelling, people requested it, people took it. We’re happy so long as they credit the Al-Jazeera exclusive.

The Arab Spring has raised Al Jazeera’s profile and increased calls for its wider availability in the United States, in some ways making the network part of the news.

With Al-Jazeera network worldwide, we’ve got a particular history in this region. For Al-Jazeera Arabic, we were the first free channel within the region, and so what ran us into trouble with regimes such as Gaddafi’s and Mubarak’s was the fact that we were not state-controlled, not pliant with cozy relationships that a lot of these dictatorships had with each other, arrangements of not covering each other’s affairs. We really shone a light and gave a voice to the people. People within the region have been grateful for fact that they have been told, but this year has been at the forefront of the world’s imagination for obvious reasons.

Related: News organizations defend airing gruesome Gadhafi death video (Hollywood Reporter) Read more


Few U.S. front pages feature dead Gadhafi, many international papers show body

Very few front pages of U.S. newspapers featured photos of a dead Moammar Gadhafi Friday morning, choosing instead to show rebels and citizens celebrating or archival images of the Libyan leader.

  • Of the 424 U.S. papers collected by the Newseum, I found seven — the New York Daily News, the New York Post, Casa Grande (Ariz.) Dispatch, Hartford Courant, El Nuevo Herald, Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times, and Express — that used large images of a dead Gadhafi on their front pages.
  • The Virginian-Pilot, Boston Globe, Las Vegas Review-Journal, High Point (N.C.) Enterprise and San Luis Obispo Tribune used a large front page photo of a bloodied Gadhafi taken before his death.
  • At least a dozen other papers used small images of a bloodied or dead Gadhafi on their front page.
  • None of the major national newspapers — The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today — used photos of a deceased Gadhafi on their front pages.

Abroad, some papers showed militaristic or menacing images of Gadhafi, but dozens opted for a dominant photo of the fallen dictator after he was killed by rebel fighters. Warning: Graphic images below. Some appear here courtesy of the Newseum. Read more

Moammar Gadhafi

AFP, AP transmit graphic photos of dead Gadhafi

Graphic images of a reportedly-dead Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are being transmitted by the AP, Reuters, AFP and possibly other wire services.

AFP describes how it got the photo:

It was taken in Sirte by a rebel fighter using a mobile phone. AFP photographer Philippe Desmazes was able to take a photo of the mobile’s screen a few minutes later and transmit the picture.

“I was covering the fall of Sirte and heard gunfire a little further west of where I was. The rebels explained to us that Kadhafi’s men had tried to break out at night a little further west. There had been fighting but this sounded more like celebrations than fighting,” said Desmazes.
“So I asked the fighters to take me there. When I got there, they showed me big concrete cylinders in which they said Kadhafi had been hiding when he was captured.

“A little further on, I noticed some fighters gathered around a phone. I was lucky because I was the only one to notice them. The owner of the phone showed me the arrest of Kadhafi which he had filmed a few minutes earlier. Given the ambient light, it was very difficult to take a screen grab. The fighters gathered round and gave me enough shadow to take the shot. I was really lucky,” he said.

The AP images come from video screengrabs provided by Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, says Paul Colford, director of media relations. AP has been “very careful to use only stuff we’ve vetted and feel comfortable about,” Colford said. Read more


How will you handle graphic images or video of Gadhafi’s death?

Journalists often have access to graphic scenes, and face the ethical dilemma of whether and how to share these images with audiences. Most recently, media considered how to handle Osama bin Laden photos, but the images were never released. Similarly, there were challenges with images of Saddam Hussein. Though there are guidelines for deadling with difficult images, each situation is different.

The AP’s Paul Colford confirms the news service has transmitted images of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. “It’s pretty graphic stuff. These are pretty grim photos that I saw,” he told Poynter’s Bob Andelman. “It would be routine for us, with particularly graphic material, to flag it as such.”

Poynter faculty members Al Tompkins and Kenny Irby hosted a live chat to help journalists decide how to handle graphic images of Gadhafi. You can replay the chat here:

<a href=”” mce_href=”” >How will you handle graphic images of Gaddafi’s death?</a> Read more


Gadhafi dead or alive? Websites carefully qualify info during breaking news

As reports came out Thursday morning about the capture or death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi during violence in his hometown of Sirte, news websites published information immediately with extreme caution. Of the 10 leading websites I checked between 8:40 and 9 a.m., every one of them provided information in the headline to communicate how reliable the report might be. This transparency helps boost credibility during breaking news. || Related: Broadcast and cable nets scramble to confirm and cover Gaddafi’s status

Fox News attributed the information and made clear in its headline that there were conflicting reports.
CNN cited Arab media as the source in its breaking news ticker, and noted that it had not yet confirmed those reports. had both news of Gadhafi‘s capture and his death on its home page, one in the top story and one in a breaking news alert bannered across the site.
CBS News also made it clear that reports of Gadhafi‘s death were unconfirmed.
ABC attributes the information to rebel fighters who unseated the Libyan leader.
ABC attributes the information to rebel fighters who unseated the Libyan leader.
AOL also attributed the reports to rebels.
One of the more subdued approaches to the news, The New York Times attributed the information to a Libyan official.
The Washington Post reported neither Gadhafi‘s capture nor his death in its headline, only that his fate was uncertain.
Read more

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