Times Apologizes for Showing Photo, Video of Dying Soldier

The Times "expresses regret that the family suffered distress."

The Times today apologized to a soldier's family (though not in the newspaper itself)forpublishing a photo and a video (on its website)on Monday of a soldier, Staff Sgt. Hector Leijadying of a gunshot wound in Baghdad.

Yet although the photo has apparently been removed from the posted version of the original article, the six-minute video, "Return to Haifa Street" can still be accessed as of 2 p.m (ET) Thursday afternoon.

From today's Houston Chronicle, which has been tracking the story: "The New York Times will express regret for hurting the feelings of the family of a Texas soldier after publishing a photograph and a video showing him as he lay dying in Baghdad.

"The letter is part of an agreement reached Wednesday between the Army and the Times to resolve a controversy about the use of images of Staff Sgt. Hector Leija without his consent.

"The New York Times agreed to write a letter to Sgt. Leija's family explaining the process we go through to notify families and why we run the articles and photographs we do, and expressing regret that the family suffered distress," said a statement from the newspaper.

"The decision came after a telephone discussion Wednesday between Times executive editor Bill Keller in New York, and Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

"The images showed Leija after he was struck in the head by a single bullet during a patrol Jan. 24 in Baghdad.

"An article about Leija and others on patrol, and a photograph of him on a stretcher hours before he died, was printed in the New York Times on Monday. Video of Leija before and after he was shot was posted on paper's Web site later in the day. It was still available for viewing on the Times' Web site Wednesday night.

"Army commanders in Baghdad maintained that the Times violated a signed agreement, as a condition for being embedded with Leija's unit, not to publish images of any wounded soldier without the service member's consent. As a result, Times reporter Damien Cave and a contract photographer for the newspaper, Robert Nickelberg, were banned at least temporarily from embedding with U.S. units."

This isn't the first time the Times has crossed the line in dealing withfallensoldiers.