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Media Discuss Ethics Of Tragedy Journalism

  • Policymic, Monday, December 17, 2012 12:58 PM

A horrific tragedy like last Friday's Newton, Conn. shooting invariably brings a full-court media press -- often along with media reflections on how to cover such news without sensationalizing it. Among the thoughtful posts examining this issue: Time's James Poniewozik's argument to turn off the video camera for kids on-site at the school. "There is no good journalistic reason to put a child at a mass-murder scene on live TV, permission of the parents or not," he writes. "There’s not even a bad-but-practical reason to do it, beyond getting buzz and adding 'color' to a story. No one learned anything they couldn’t have from talking to people off-camera and privately."

Lewis Fallis, meanwhile, argues that "zero publicity for mass murderers" would "almost certainly diminish the frequency of such attacks... We should, as a society, decide that the names of such men will not go down in infamy, but in oblivion. Every news outlet should strip the name and photograph of the Connecticut murderer from its reporting."



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