Virginia shooting aired live,
coverage offers timely discussions
The shooting deaths of two journalists today and the wounding of a third person in Virginia creates possible lessons for scholastic media classrooms.
- Ethics: Should other media repeat the video of the actual shooting? The shooting was broadcast live. Students could discuss the reasons for and against repeating the shooting and develop ethical guidelines for their publishing of controversial situations.
- Newsworthiness: What should the lead be? What additional information should be included in stories like this? What is the best way to update them? Once the breaking news angle has passed, how should media report additional events? How much background should be included?
- Social media: The video and related personal information went viral immediately after the shooting. How much of what hit social media should play a role in news coverage? What should journalists’ social media include? Should social media mix factual information with viewpoints?
- Storify assignment: For students just learning how to use Storify, you could create a lesson with the various approaches digital and social media used about the shooting. Discussion points could include purpose of the Storify, credibility of the sources, verification of information and ethical considerations and in making those decisions. Grading and/or discussions could work around this rubric.
Exploration of these and additional questions and examples can help scholastic journalists place their coverage in perspective and improve their coverage.
Links for use (among many):
• Deadly shooting of reporters in Virginia
• Virginia TV murders: Reporter shot while running away; camerman’s finance watched him die
• Gunman murders two Virginia reporters in attack broadcast on live TV
• Manhunt on for killer of two employees in SW Virginia
• 2 journalists shot dead during TV broadcast in Virginia
• Deadly shooting during live TV news report in Va.
• Image shows the gunman
• Va. shooter posted tweets, video of shooting on Twitter, manhunt underway for former disgruntled employee
These links were all early in the day. Seek additional updates for additional information and discussion points.
Updated links from later Aug. 26:
• Should you use the video and the fax from the WDBJ shooting? That depends
• Suspect in killing of Virginia TV crew said he was ‘just waiting to go BOOM’
• The Virginia shooting and the dark side of the social media age
• How should news organizations he treating the manifesto from the WDBJ shooting?
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