Saturday, October 3, 2015

Shocker: NY Post treats the victims right--Good job!

NYC papers. Wow, three vastly different ways of depicting the UCC shooting at  Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

I was thrilled to see they all gave survivors top billing over the killer, by far, even the tabloids.

But one had no sensitivity to victims (in addition to clueless word about what "psycho" means. I can't believe I'm hearing myself say this about a NY Post cover, but it was stellar. Amazing job, NY Post. Thank you.

Here they are:

Bad






Good





Spectacular







UCC shooting stories quoting me: Esquire, BBC, Oregonian, etc

I worked with several print journalists Friday, who quoted me in their stories about the tragic UCC shooting in Oregon:

The Oregonian: Oregon school shooting: 3 things Roseburg community (and media) can learn from Columbine

BBC: Oregon shooting: The mass killing 'contagion effect'

NPR: #MemeOfTheWeek: That Article From The Onion About Mass Shootings.

Washington Post: School shooters targeting Christians is not a new claim. (I've delinked this one, because it kind of reinforces several myths. And the long quote from me which sounds like it's about Columbine is actually referring to UCC.)

And in Esquire, Charles Pierce cited my CNN appearance Thursday, and had really nice things to say about what I've been saying and writing in his very smart piece: Republicans Are Using Fear and Guns to Keep Us 'Safe.' It's Killing Us.

I think there should be a really good one coming from NPR, but I don't see it yet. I'll try to add it, but I'm on a flight to Chicago for my sister's baby shower. (SO happy to get out of here, and leave murders behind for a bit.) (Update: added it. And it's really interesting.)

Choice bit from The Oregonian piece: "The best way to support people who experienced the attack is to give them space and time."

And here's my New Republic piece from Thursday night:  A Skeptic's Guide to Media Coverage of Mass Shootings. (Cheat sheet to the right.)

And the wonderful "Haunted by Columbine" video was released this week by RetroReport and New York Times. (I appear throughout.)

You can find links to all my recent (and archive) magazine/web piece here.

I don't know if the TV shows I did will post the segments. I will try to get them, but you can try searching. I did AC360 Thursday and Friday, CBC's nightly news show Friday, and a breaking news segment on MSNBC Thursday.

And very soon, I hope (and pray) to be back off the murder beat again for awhile. This tragedy has worn on me quickly. Note this picture from Anderson Cooper 360 this (Friday) evening. One of these people is not doing well. I knew I felt that way inside. I had no idea I'd been wearing it on my face like that. Time to step back.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Skeptic's Guide to Media Coverage of Mass Shootings

Late tonight, I posted a new piece on New Republic: A Skeptic's Guide to Media Coverage of Mass Shootings. Here's how it happened.

Tweets can be useful, now and then. I got a wonderful one yesterday afternoon, with this graphic to the right.

It was created by Alex Goldman in 2013, for NPR’s On the Media: “Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook.”

It was so wonderful, and so timely again on this awful day when a gunman killed at least 9 other people on at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

I tweeted the mini "handbook" back and started jotting down additional ideas. Unfortunately, it was a dreaded murder day, so I began shuttling between MSNBC and CNN. (I'll post links if they put the clips on the web.) In between, I kept adding ideas, and then working with my wonderful New Republic editor, Ryan Kearney. We shuttled ideas and edits back by cellphone from the makeup chair, and the green room, and I made the director very nervous typing a message through the last ten seconds of the commercial break before my spot on AC360.

There was lots of tweaking to get all the latest facts right, because ironically, as I was writing about facts being misreported, the "facts" we were citing in the piece kept changing (eg, 13 deaths down to 10, and still inconsistent reporting on whether that included the gunmen). Around 11 p.m., we posted it: A Skeptic's Guide to Media Coverage of Mass Shootings


And this new 12-minute video 'Haunted by Columbine' by New York Times and RetroReport could not be more relevant. It documents how most of the crucial facts about Columbine were misreported 16 year ago, and still with us today.

This is sadly relevant, too, especially given the sheriff's statement. My 2013 Buzzfeed piece: "Let’s Stop Naming Mass Shooters In Our Reporting."

Update: We added our own graphic that you can cut/paste/post: