Too many takes on a tragedy
"A reporter says all the things fellow journalists are thinking," tweets CTV Edmonton's Stacey Brotzel, sharing a blog by Jaye Watson on yesterday's events in Roanoke (now at 50,000+ enthusiastic shares and mounting). The 11Alive News Atlanta reporter writes of Alison Parker and Adam Ward's death, "One person, a Glock and GoPro toting person, stole the promise of their lives, ensuring they would experience no more ‘firsts,‘ of any kind. I beg of you to remember one thing. He was not one of us." Betty Nguyen at CBS News calls it a "Powerful piece. It's a journey most in the biz understand. The ending is still incomprehensible." Dianne Gallagher with NBC Charlotte reacts, "This made me cry...in public. And I want to share it with you. Please read this."
And that's not the only take on yesterday's tragedy, as we're sure you already sensed. At the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof proffers lessons from the murders of TV journalists in the Virginia shooting: "Surely we can regulate guns as seriously as we do cars and swimming pools," Kristof writes. "Yet we keep choosing not to," responds Quartz's Svati Narula. Meanwhile, Christopher Ingraham writes for the Washington Post that we’re now averaging more than one mass shooting per day in 2015. "There have been 238 days -- and 247 mass shootings -- in 2015 so far," elaborates colleague Zachary A. Goldfarb. "This is journalistic malpractice," Dan Rather complains of media coverage for gun violence. Also at the NY Times, Farhad Manjoo pontificates on violence gone viral: "He held his camera vertically, in one hand, allowing him to hold his gun in the other," Manjoo points out. "Horrifying realization: #VirginiaShooting shooter counted 'on our inability to resist passing on what he had posted,'" observes Roll Call's Eli Yokley. And at Poynter, Kristen Hare takes note that until yesterday, only 6 journalists have been killed while on assignment in the U.S. since 1992.
As for coverage of the event, some folks got it right and some got it so, so very wrong. Consider, for instance, the drastic juxtaposition between how the Richmond Times-Dispatch covered it and how the New York Daily News did it. "I tried to fix tomorrow's NY Daily News front cover," offers Lisa Vikingstad. Across social platforms, users urged one another to stop spreading the killer's message through re-posted footage and screenshots, with some success. But at WDBJ 7, Parker and Ward's newsroom family came together to share photos and a moment of silence. Scholarships have also been set up in both their names.