News Coverage of School Shooting (Sandy Hook Elementary School)

 

The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that occurred on December 14, 2012 was awful. What was even worse than the 26 people (20 children and 6 adult staff members) that heartbreakingly lost their lives was the way the media covered the tragedy. The media covered the story non-stop for several days, if not weeks. They (the news media) went through the murderer’s rampage of killing and the choice he made. They also analyzed his mental health. They also have specific details about how he went through the school. They also analyzed his weapon of choice, which just further fueled the debate on gun control.

                With all of that being said, I don’t blame the media for school shootings. I don’t think just because violence (specifically mass and random shootings) is being covered means there is more violence. And I don’t think we, as society, are more violent today than in the past. However, there is a difference. The difference is, in today’s society, violence can be covered more because of the innovations in media. News outlets cover these stories because in past years they didn’t have the resources or technological advances to do so. The news of tragedies like school shootings travels very quickly because of things like social media and 24 hour news stations. For example, in American History there is another mass murder at an (US) elementary school. I had never heard of it before. In 1927, in Michigan, there was a bombing at Bath Elementary School. This wasn’t widely publicized because the news of tragedy didn’t get out of the immediate are because of the lack of technological advances.

                However, I don’t like the way that news outlets cover violence and/or mass shootings. I don’t think they ‘glamourize’ in a way that make more people want to commit a heinous act like that, but they do over use the ‘fear’ element. They instill fear into their viewers by over-analyzing everything little piece of information, by making speculations that aren’t based in any truth, and they over-cover the story. However, I don’t think this way of covering stories is going to change. Almost, if not every news outlet, covers massacres (similar to Sandy Hook) the same way.

                To conclude, although the way news outlets cover massacres, like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, is bad; they don’t cause shootings. This concept is similar to the gun control debate “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”, “The news doesn’t create violence, people create violence.” 

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