As a tragic shooting was reported on as at an elementary school in Newtown, CT, Twitter users commented on whether the media should interview young students regarding the tragedy.
See updated coverage on the shooting on Yahoo! News here.
On social media and commentary outlets such as Twitter and Reddit, users reacted to the news.
Twitter user and blogger @bobbyfinger commented: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything sadder on TV than a little boy calmly describing the school shooting he just lived through.”
While a reporter can legally interview a minor with the permission of a parent or guardian, users criticized major media outlets for doing so. CNN featured first-hand accounts and interviews with children in the 1 p.m. (EST) hour. The network did not post the last names of the children interviewed.
Several users criticized the media’s coverage of this event.
Twitter user Joan (@MayberryMagpie) commented when asked about the interviews: “Absolutely not, even with permission! It’s exploitation and feeds the violence culture.”
Reddit user Pun_isher commented: “News stations don’t practice journalism anymore. They peddle fear, hate and paranoia, preying on the emotions of people to get a couple points up in the ratings. Television news has become a parody of itself and is continuing to spiral deeper and deeper in this ****ed up direction.”
Lauri (@lmapp) said “NO! They are children who have no idea the true scope of what they are doing yet, and the parents are in shock. Leave them alone.”
Some social media users have an alternate viewpoint about the media’s handling of this tragedy.
On Reddit, a self-identified journalism student posted a comment decrying the media’s response to the shooting. A self-identified reporter, hobbitlover, responded to this comment: “Reporter here. It’s a ****ty, underpaid and unappreciated job on the best of days. Take my advice and do something else – get an IT degree or become a teacher or something. You’ll be happier.”
Hobbitlover goes on to say, “As a reporter, you hold up the mirror to society, which won’t always like what it sees reflected back. If you hold the mirror right, people won’t even notice who’s doing the holding, all they’ll care about is fixing what’s wrong with that picture.”
Perhaps the real issue is response to unprecedented tragedies and the immediate response. While the debate about gun control comes to front every time a shooting occurs, what about the ramifications of mental health resources – for both the shooter and the survivors in the communities affected?
Reddit user a_monster_, who says he or she is in another school local to the crime scene, made the following post: “Some kids are bawling in the bathroom, there are only 10 or so (out of 25) that remained in class). [sic] Nobody has a dry eye right now. Some kids are angry and swearing, others are staring at their feet. We don’t know how to deal with this. This town has virtually no crime, we were unprepared.”
In another post, this user discussed high school students’ reactions: “Many of them said that if there was a reporter outside then they would react [sic] violentally.”