Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You just can't look away

The online coverage of the sentencing of Russell Williams for his reign of depravity has been impossible to ignore.

As The Globe and Mail reported: "Col. Williams was formally convicted Tuesday of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of sexual assault and forcible confinement and 82 fetish burglaries in which he stole women’s underwear and other intimate items."

I found The Globe's blogging, updated every two to five minutes, impossible to stay away from. On Monday my Journalism students and I spent several hours following it.

Several students commented, from strikingly different points of view, on their blogs.

Jessica Cable says some events shouldn't be tweeted about, and provides a couple of startling examples.

Tammy Karatchuk says that just because we can divulge horrifying details instantly, that doesn't mean we should.

Shelley Cook asks whether editors wondered if pictures of Williams wearing women's and girls' underwear would offend the legitimate cross-dressing community.


  1. I can't look away either.

    I remember when Bernardo was on trial; I was in high school, and was also mesmerized by the then-extensive coverage. (Lloyd Robertson's nightly national newscasts on the trial was riveting, much like this case, I couldn't take my eyes away...)

    I have so many questions: What was Williams thinking? What is he thinking now? What were his victims like? How is his wife doing? Did he have anything to do with any of the missing Manitoba women (since he lived here)?!

    Don't get me wrong, I think Williams is a sick man...But I am still so curious about this entire case.

    I think this is why I am in journalism.

  2. Curiosity, about cases such as this or about anything in the universe, is the best reason to be a journalist.

  3. I think the live tweeting helps to not only impress the gravity of what's happened on the public, but also provides a tremendous amount of insight into what would posses a man to commit such horrible acts.

    We're not just reading about it now, we're living it.

    I can't imagine what will happen when war correspondents start doing this. What if tweeting was around during Sept 11? Or the Tsunami?

  4. The 9-11 attacks were covered live on TV. (Yes, we had television in 2001!)
    It is interesting to think about the different effects of coverage in different media.