Disregarding the messiness, beheading strikes me as a rather humane means of execution. I know it has to be very upsetting to family and friends of the victims, but if I had to choose between beheading and lethal injection in certain states of the USofA, I think the beheading might be far preferable.
What makes a person a journalist? Both Sotloff and Foley were freelancers, selling their reportage to many different news outlets. They enjoyed no worker benefits — not life insurance, nor health insurance, nor any formal backup when they got themselves into very serious trouble. Blame the Islamic State by all means — it is the very definition of terrorism — but also blame the news media, the deprofessionalizing of reportage, and a media culture that encourages young people to toss themselves into extreme danger for a small chance of "success."
The photojournalists and videojournalists are in more peril than the print journalists, albeit more likely to be killed outright on the battlefield than captured and used as propaganda tools. Reporters of all stripes need much more professional training if they will work in war zones, and the media should accept that responsibility.