04/21/2014 05:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Former ABC News President David Westin Says Crisis Reporting Shouldn't Become Entertainment

To mark the anniversary of the city-wide lockdown in Boston after the bombing at last year's marathon, HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski hosted a discussion to answer an important question: If fear gives attackers power, can we combat terrorism by ignoring it?

Former ABC News president David Westin joined the debate to weigh in on the programming decisions he made in the midst of the media chaos immediately following the September 11 attacks.

"When 9/11 happened, I made a decision that we wouldn't show the people jumping off the buildings," he said. "We reported it, we said it was happening, but we didn't need to show video of that."

Westin said the most important part of shaping reports during a time of crisis is separating necessary information from details that solely appeal to viewers' emotions.

"There are emotional components of all these stories, but you have to be thinking, 'Am I really conveying important, substantive information, or am I just pulling on people's heartstrings?' Because that lapses over into, frankly, entertainment. That's not news at that point," Westin said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation below.



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