There used to be an adage in news coverage it is better to be right than first.
But in cutthroat competitiveness of 24 hour cable news and the anything goes reporting of the blogosphere that adage has been turned upside down.
Let me go through just a few of the inaccuracies. The media got the name of the shooter wrong; indicting his brother. They got the motive wrong. His mother did not work at the elementary school and he did not kill her in the classroom. He also wasn`t allowed in after a staffer recognized him. He broke a window and entered. all of that bad reporting was re-reported over and over again without attribution.
And the reporters who chased down traumatized children hours after the tragedy should be ashamed.
But I have an idea how we in the media can regain trust lost, in the next mass shooting. there will be another.
Don`t show the picture of the shooter or use his name. Don't make him immortal, make him forgotten.
We now have profiles of the crazies from the ghosts of killing sprees past. They all feel as society didn`t recognize them. The shootings are their way to get noticed. So let`s remove that incentive.
Newspapers already make the choices to not show or name rape victims or juvenile offenders. So they do have a choice in the matter.
We need to stop making these murders about the maniacs and instead focus solely on their victims.
To the news managers in this country I plead; Now that you know you are rewarding the deranged how can you continue let your competitors do the wrong thing and you will be rewarded by your audience for doing what is right.