Responding to allegations that Q13 didn't air footage of police brutality because station managers were trying to preserve their relationship with police sources, Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute weighs in:
Journalists often call us at The Poynter Institute to ask questions about when they should air or post controversial video or publish photos that show violence.
A case in Seattle shows that not airing those images can cause problems, too. [...]
The main lesson here is about the damage that can result when journalists withhold information. At Poynter, we often refer to "Green Light ethics," meaning that a central role of journalism is to report, not withhold, information. Of course, there will be times when we will tap the brakes and ask more questions. We might even come to a red light, which will stop us from reporting stories that are untrue or unfair. But in this case, withholding damaging video only raised questions about whether journalists were too cozy with police.
Tompkins also points to Slog's breaking coverage of the Q13 debacle.