Stop scrambling for ‘why,’ and stop calling them ‘shooters’

Another week, another mass shooting in America. In addition to being heartsick, angry and frustrated, I am, as usual, distressed by the way mass shootings are reported in the breaking news cycle. I think of the survivors and the loved ones of victims of Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, The Pulse and all the others, knowing in addition to the pain they’re feeling as they’re forced to relive their own personal horror, they’re watching journalists make the same mistakes over and over.

First, there is something desperately wrong with the scramble to answer the question “why” by reporting random facts about the killer in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. If ever there were a case for “slow journalism,” it is right after some maniac opens fire and kills a bunch of people. It produces some of the most useless, speculative and perhaps even reckless reporting news organizations do….

Read the rest at the Center for Journalism Ethics.

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