Friday, December 7, 2007

Westroads Shooting: National Stories Of Note

CBS Marketwatch reporter Jon Friedman says the media should stop its identifying crazed fame-seekers, such as the gunman who killed eight people Wednesday in an Omaha mall before taking his own life.

"Don't release their names or photos," Friedman writes in his column. "By taking such a bold step, television, print and web executives could help society and maybe even save lives. Media do-gooders often point to the positive ways in which they help people to live better lives. Now, those in charge can accomplish something truly noteworthy by doing nothing at all, and it wouldn't cost a dime."

* * *

Editor & Publisher magazine reporter Joe Strupp writes that the Omaha World-Herald initially sent 10 staffers to the scene of Wednesday's shooting and eventually had 50 of its nearly 200-person newsroom on the story in some form.

Unfortunately, few were able to access any of the reporting the newspaper was trying to provide on its website and its afternoon edition had already gone to press.

"Thousands of people were simultaneously trying to get to," Colleen Schinker told Strupp. "The site never went down, but many people could not get to the site."


Anonymous said...

My family and I recently moved to the Pacific Northwest and I was at work when I first heard about this breaking story. I saw it on Drudge and it linked to an Action 3 story. I tried to get on and it didn't work. I have had an incredibly hard time trying to access the OWH site throughout the next couple of days.

The OWH site also melted when the UNL Athletic Director was fired a couple of months ago.

Jeez, if Action 3's web site can handle the traffic from a link on Drudge, you'd think Nebraska's largest paper can handle a large amount of traffic.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to Friedman's point -- I wholeheartedly agree. Before he went on his killing spree, this kid said, "I'm gonna be famous".

These killers, going back to Hinckley shooting Reagan to get Jodie Foster's attention, want notoriety. And the media gives it to them.

As scary as it is to have to think that another depressed individual, who wants to go out in what they believe is a "blaze of glory", sees this murderer getting his name and face all over the TV, paper, 'net, etc. And they think, "Hey, I wanna go out famous like that."

Let's stop encouraging more tragedies like this by not serving up the infamy these disturbed people want. What's the point of announcing their identity, anyway? Victims, I can understand. But the only reason you seek the killer's name and information is to see if you know the person. And if you're connected to their friends or family, you'll find out eventually.

Michael Carnes said...

The problem is that these loose screws confuse being "famous" -- honored for achievement -- with being "notorious" -- widely and unfavorably known.

There is a HUGE difference between the two, and unfortunately the media plays right into that because they are, in large part, attention-seeking whores in their own right by wanting to be the first to cover situations like this.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya -- that's why there needs to be an across-the-board agreement with all media groups.

Otherwise, it turns into that "hey, our competitor is showing a picture of the killer; we need to do that, too" kind of feeding frenzy you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say shame on the Omaha World-Herald and other media outlets who chose to run the picture showing the shooter aiming his gun on Friday and Saturday. I used to be in the business, and I can say I would have never run that photo. Kudos to WOWT for not showing it on their Friday newscasts.

Anonymous said...

Spell check Sean?????

Anonymous said...

For all the inches and inches of criticism of area media outlets, one would suspect City Weekly would blow us all away with its in-depth coverage of the Westroads shooting. Especially since it had a week to report before going to print. Instead, it gives us essentially a one-source story on a different shooting 30 years ago.

Nice work guys, not.

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