Commentary

Tragedy. . . and the Media

I’ve written the introduction to this blog five or six times but there is just no appropriate way to begin talking about the VA Tech shootings this week.

As a college student this tragedy hits particularly close to home, but I know everyone who heard the news was affected in some way. The interesting thing about media coverage today is that it’s everywhere. In this particular case it was impossible not to be affected by the information because it was all over the place. I watched online coverage, heard about the candlelight vigil through e-mail, watched the nightly news with friends, was assured of my personal safety through an online letter from our university president, read hard copy and online stories, and listened to coverage on the radio. Not only was this convenient, it was expected. I knew that my computer would automatically update me with the most current facts, and became agitated when there was no new news.

It’s hard to say whether this inundation of information helped me cope. Maybe it made me feel worse. When every platform and every forum in your life talks about an event, it becomes easy to feel like you’re a part of the tragedy. This can be a good thing because we are better able to empathize, but it can also take its toll. I remember after 9/11 school officials were worried the graphic images might cause post traumatic stress disorder in children. Despite any psychological repercussions which could occur, I belong to a school of thought where any (legitimate) news should be consumed, and I honestly feel grateful for all of the information dispersed. I want to talk about what happened, and people should know all they can.

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1 comment about "Tragedy. . . and the Media".
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  1. Leonard Novick, April 24, 2007 at 3:33 a.m.

    I agree that we are inundated with news and who knows what the long term effects could be of news saturation. It is clear though, that the technology that is enabling this saturation is also bringing people closer together. What happens in Blacksburg, Virginia for example can touch and therefore affect someone in Outer Mongolia. And what happens in a small village in Africa can touch and therefore affect someone in Manhattan.

    Although the tragedy at Virg Tech is first and foremost a very personal tragedy for those directly affected, this event struck at Gen Y ground zero and for me, the story has mostly been told and best told through the communication and technology tools that are now an embedded part of young people's lives. In that sense, this moment reminds me of the watershed experienced by the mainstream media when we first got war live and up close on Jan 16 1991 when the first Gulf War began.

    Seeing that you are a college student, I would be interested in your thoughts on an article to this affect I just published on our company's marketing weblog www.constantchange.typepad.com and which is reprinted on my personal weblog www.thru-other-eyes.com.

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