The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Media, public responses to tragedy changing

By Rhiannon Saegert/nw news editor

Every time a mass shooting occurs, someone blames the media. However, I try not to take offense because I understand why.

It makes sense in theory: If these people are committing mass murder for attention, don’t give it to them. Withhold the shooter’s name, withhold the victim’s name and don’t give this nightmare the time of day. There can’t be a copycat if there’s no original.

Even for people who don’t feel that way, the sensationalism that surrounds these tragedies can be off-putting.

Children who survived the Sandy Hook shooting were interviewed the same day of the tragedy. The fact their parents gave reporters permission to do so doesn’t change the fact that the interviews were sick, wrong and damaging. 

Many people know the saying “If it bleeds, it leads.” That cliché reveals an ugly truth about news. The worst things in life hold the audience’s attention. From a business standpoint, nothing’s better than blood.

Maybe this is a little naïve of me, but I don’t relish the thought of going into a field where I’ll be expected to prod information out of traumatized grade school kids just to pull heartstrings.

That said, asking the press to withhold information, unless there’s a specific reason, serves no purpose.

If the news is to blame for these mass killings, then so are film, music and any other scrap of media that may have reached and influenced these murderers.

If the amount of attention they receive is the problem, I have some bad news: The Internet exists, and everyone wants to share their opinion.

Coverage is more important than ever because without it, all that’s left is a slew of unreliable narrators with zero accountability.

The mess of “evidence” circulated after each of these crimes is mind-blowing. Theorizing in a forum is one thing, but taking the time to post an unrelated photo with a misleading caption for the sake of drama is another entirely. The 60 percent of Americans who say they distrust mass media aren’t going to fare any better if they’re relying on a faceless source.

Snopes.com is great but can do only so much.

I think people are aware of this dilemma and what it says about our society. I don’t think withholding information is the answer, but people are finally getting disgusted with the way they receive that information.

I’m going to go take a shower.

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