Tennessee’s death row cam

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Recent Must Reads

12/5 – Racial profiling goes global

12/2 – Stock options for the poor

12/1 – Barbara Walters, soup shill

11/29 – Cheney’s ties to Iraq

Tennessee residents no longer have to head to the video store to see a Dead Man Walking: The Department of Corrections is providing them with bona fide footage of a real-life death row prisoner only moments before his execution.

In April, the state put to death Robert Glen Coe, the first person to be executed there in 40 years. Corrections officials videotaped the preliminary events to document exactly what happens leading up to an execution. Journalists then sued to gain access to the video — successfully — claiming it was a public record.

The FREEDOM FORUM reports that department officials edited out most of the video to preserve the anonymity of the other people involved in the execution. Still, the document captures a glimpse of Coe shortly before his death, and some of his last words are audible on the tape. The article points out that the video represents both the “danger of sensationalism and the value of informing the public.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest