“If you don’t want to propagate more mass murders, don’t start the story with sirens blaring. Don’t have photographs of the killer. Don’t make this 24/7 coverage. Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story. Not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero. Do localize the story to the affected community, and make it as boring as possible in every other market. Because every time we have intense-saturation coverage of a mass murder, we expect to see one or two more within a week.” —Park Deitz.
I haven’t been closely covering the Aurora coverage, on purpose. It was horrible news to wake up to 700 miles away, I can’t imagine the pain of those affected. And, I don’t think the media generally helps things with wall to wall coverage.
But, I did happen across the video above, where a forensic psychiatrist talks about the impact of media coverage of shootings. It’s pretty thought provoking. (Sidenote: anyone know if there’s a longer version? An academic paper on it?)
Looking at this collection of front pages in that context is a little scary.
But, on the other hand, a long-form GQ story about last year’s Norway shooting has also been making the rounds over the past week. I’ll be honest: I haven’t had a chance to read it all yet (I will, though). But, I’ve heard from others that it’s really good, and if it’s anything like the magazine stories that followed the Zanesville Zoo disaster, I don’t doubt it. Those stories were chilling, masterfully told, and they raised important questions. (On a lesser note, these types of stories tend to win awards and praise from other journalists).
So, how can these two ideas coexist?
Something to consider. I have a lot more thoughts and feelings swirling around the issue, which I haven’t totally sorted through yet. I’ll end with one more link: Poynter’s 7 tips for covering the Colorado Theater Shooting. Good things to remember when covering any disaster.
Ok, after that, here’s a cute thing: A Romance for the Ages.
Found Poetry: Rejection Letters. This is awesome. And makes me wish I wasn’t so familiar with rejection letters.
How Long Should a Media Property’s Homepage Be? I don’t know if I totally agree with this guy’s conclusion (that you should keep it going until no one is still clicking), but at least he provides a data-driven approach to the question, which I find interesting. Looks like the channel has some other interesting videos too.
Fan-shaped Family Tree. I want to make one!
Lunch Studio. These two architects go out every day for lunch in NYC (and meticulously document it on their blog). Because they believe a break from the office to eat and enjoy each other’s company is important, and, presumably, because they are fabulous. I want that life.
Note: If you’ve been following along the past few weeks, you’ll notice my reading list is much shorter this week. Next week it may be non-existent. I’m preoccupied with one of my least favorite activities: moving.