virginia school shootings and citizen reporting
Of course there’s been a lot of blogging about the Virginia Tech shootings (terrifying, heartbreaking), and about the use of social media and citizen reporting around them. Tama Leaver has an excellent post discussing intended versus unintended citizen journalism, and the ethics of mass media descending upon those who just happened to be there, and just happened to have written about it on LiveJournal or shot a video on their phone. From Bryce’s journal:
This is ridiculous. I find myself getting excited because I’m on the news (Fox News recently shared the blog). Each time I hear something else I get a brief moment of selfish joy before I am stabbed in the heart, realizing that I deserve no credit and that lives are gone, destroyed, and in pain. What is the significance of all this? My postings are simply what I always do– except I left my thoughts for the public instead of just my friends. This run of emotions is hard to bear. I need to go for a walk– but of course, what good is that since everything is outside my door. There is no escaping. The chains have been tied to the door.
Lisbeth Klastrup notes the immense number of views a cellphone video of the shootings has received, although the quality is so bad you can barely see what’s going on, and wonders about the meaning of authenticity in news today.
Of course, this having happened at a college is particularly frightening for a university employee like me. Things like this don’t happen in Norway (touch wood) but if anything did happen here, I fervently hope our central administration would act more quickly than Virginia Tech’s did. One of Bryce’s first posts in his LiveJournal after the shootings was this:
THE FIRST SHOOTING TOOK PLACE AT AROUND 7AM. I WENT TO CLASS AT 9AM. THEY DIDN’T CLOSE CAMPUS UNTIL 10AM.
Mind you, it would be hard to close a whole campus.