The world feels small and fragile today.
Have you ever emotionally experienced an event that happened to people you don’t know in a place you don’t live? Somehow it hits incredibly close to home. My heart is broken for Alison Parker and Adam Ward. I don’t know them, but somehow I see them everywhere. They’re my co-workers both past and present.
My heart goes out to their co-workers as they not only grieve the loss of their friends but as journalists, cover this horrific event.
So how are media outlets covering this?
The reporter in me wants to know every single detail about the shooter. Who is he? Why did he do this? Was the gun legally purchased? Did he know the victims? Were there warning signs? Does he have Facebook? Let’s look up his LinkedIn account …
I also want to see the face behind the crime.
But as I watch various news outlets and browse Twitter…I can’t help but feel absolutely sickened by images of his face broadcast, tweeted and retweeted. I think it’s natural for people to want to know more but at the same time I also feel it’s often unnecessary for a killer’s face be shown ad nauseum. It’s important to tell the story but it’s also prudent to do so in a way that doesn’t glorify the suspect or the suspect’s actions. In the newsroom I work for, we are very deliberate in the way we tell these types of horrific stories. If we don’t see an immediate need to name or show the photo of the suspect – we don’t.
Becoming the news has always been one of my biggest fears.
As an anchor and reporter, I also don’t want to read news that will plant irrational fears in the heads of others.
But as my colleagues and I wrap up an impromptu all-staff meeting on security, it’s clear we live in a world where we shouldn’t be afraid, but we should be vigilant.
Be kind to yourself and others today.