This month the Supreme Court declined to review a case about whether it was legal to play Enya under a video montage of a murder victim’s life. Such "victim impact statements" serve as testimony submitted during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial. At issue is the extent to which music can bias a viewer's perceptions.
Our nation's top justices wouldn't weigh in, but now you can be the judge. There's no question that the same footage can affect your mood one way if it's accompanied by hard-driving uptempo rock and another if it's set to lush orchestral strings. What role should music (or added sound effects) have in videojournalism? Do soundtracks compromise objectivity? Or are they another useful component of audio and visual storytelling? If so, what ethical guidelines should be followed?