Media coverage of massacre unnecessary

Review's View

Last Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech was horrific, and we are happy that students on Washburn’s campus responded well to the tributes.

However, the media coverage of such a tragedy has been overblown, and many times unnecessary coverage has been done.

For example, in the early part of the week, before the killer’s name had been released, rumors of who it was circulated. Media outlets used popular sites like Facebook and MySpace to find out more about the suspects. This might be the scariest thing we’ve heard all week. What is to stop them from finding incriminating pictures and showing them to their audience. Although, we did discuss the old phrase, “don’t do anything you don’t want on the front page of the paper,” it still doesn’t seem right that we had to first worry about potential employers viewing our facebook sites, but now the media?

Media outlets of all things should know that those Web sites are not the best means of collecting information. With media getting more bad press, they should be collecting their information from credible sources and presenting it in a way that doesn’t reek the foul stench of sensationalism. People can put whatever they want on there, and many people do. They can make a joke about themselves or put down what they wish to be. Some people also make those Web sites and then don’t update them for years. These are clearly not reliable sources for the media outlets to be using.

The media outlets did question themselves throughout the process of their coverage though, doing polls over whether they should be showing video and pictures of the killer. However, they didn’t hold back at first.

FOX News was showing the video and pictures, while at the same time saying how hard it must be for the family and friends of the victims to have to see it.

Perhaps the media is once again playing off of our need-to-know emotions. Which is how they justify showing us those images.

The students at Virginia Tech are trying to go back to normalcy and the parents of the victims are trying to accept what has happened. On a larger scale, students on college campuses everywhere are mourning the loss of their collegiate compatriots and are trying to deal with the nagging worry in the back of their minds, “what if that were us?”

The media needs to be mindful of this. The gathering and presenting of information needs to be more responsible and more respectful.