Atomizing A Tragedy

Earlier this month, I linked to James Swift's piece calling into question the way that media covers mass shooting tragedies. Last week, Circa voiced concern and offered transparency regarding their process for trying to cover these types of tragedies responsibly:

When a mass shooting happens, the trend among media outlets has been to cover the event and then shift focus to the sensationalized aspects of the perpetrator. The victims, mourning and any heroes that emerge often become a sidebar as attention turns to the deranged worldview of an unstable person.

The raw tragedy of mass shootings warrant our attention. The perpetrators do not.

Why are so many mass killers’ names known when victims and heroes are forgotten? Why do we salivate over the rantings of a crazed person? We in the media tout our sensibilities, yet rush to help warped individuals accomplish their goal of gaining infamy while ignoring the implications of giving them a platform. We’ve been inadvertently lionizing the wrong people in our coverage.

Even though the writings and images of an unhinged person grab attention, the media has a role in addressing the problem of mass shootings. And that means moving away from some of the elements that may be enticing, but don’t add to the forward progression of a news story. Some types of information provide macabre entertainment at best. At worst, it inspires future rampages by disturbed individuals and an apathy toward the problem in the public sphere.

If you aren't familiar with Circa, get their free app today. They've built an inventive way of gathering news from multiple sources, offering a fantastically efficient way of staying up on current events and shifting storylines.

It's good to see them talking about this issue, perhaps leading the way for some reform.