Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lack of enterprise

I won't belabor the Virginia Tech media coverage but I don't know if I want to blog about anything else. Up until today I was pretty impressed with the coverage of the event by pretty much every news organization. The stories were fresh and smart and looked at many different angles. There was breaking news and localized coverage. There were 2-hour specials and moving photo montages. I was proud to be a journalist.

Then I woke up on Wednesday morning and turned on Headline News then The Today Show. I felt like I had never gone to sleep. Was The Today Show a repeat? The stories were identical to everything I had seen before. An interview with a victim's parent wasn't so exclusive since he had spent almost half an hour with Wolf Blizter on The Situation Room just 12 hours earlier. I don't want to watch the English teacher answer the same questions over and over either. There was nothing original about any of the stories or the reporting. I was not impressed.

I don't feel like we need to rehash the exact same material just to do it. Think of something original, moving and intelligent. That's what we need in the wake of a tragedy like this. Times like this really define journalists and if you can really enterprise an angle on this kind of story, you probably have a very bright future.

Overall the coverage has been pretty good and I'm happy about that. I think we in the media needed that after the terrible Anna Nicole Smith and Don Imus overkill. But I think things were getting a little stale. Until the video given to NBC turned up....

Okay, this was big news. If you're NBC, you're loving this right now. Not in a sadistic way but in a "this is huge" way. But I think the proliferation of this material is unneccesary. It's scary, it's freaky and it gives this psycho exactly what he wanted. I feel the worst for the victims who sign online and see their friends' killer pointing a gun at their face on their homepage. This is indecent and inconsiderate. But in a way, I don't envy news directors in this situation.

Everyone hopes nothing like this will ever happen again. But if God forbid it does, I will probably be a working journalist at the time. I feel it would be a unique responsibility and it would be something that would define my career. I hope I rise to the occasion; I know I will.


At Friday, April 20, 2007, Blogger AG said...

I'm glad someone mentioned the video sent to MSNBC. I agree totally that NBC is thinking "this is huge" because it is absolutely. Although, I have to wonder what the victims families are thinking. Mylittle brother is in college and if something like this were to happen, God forbid, I would not want to see the killer speaking on the news every five minutes. Just recently, families of victims have been declining interviews with the TODAY show, and honestly, how can you blame them? While I'm glad they showed the tape, I agree with the families that it has been overkill. They, most likely, haven't even had time to digest it.
I just feel like we are giving the killer exactly what he wanted. Nobody sends a video to the NBC headquarters if they don't want huge publicity, and unfortunately, this time it seems to be at the families expense.

At Friday, April 20, 2007, Blogger AM said...

I felt the Today Show was like a repeat too. The story demanded intense coverage, but I always think the fall-off of coverage, like how news is shaping up today, makes news outlets seem so callous.


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