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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

hating the media

Jack Shafer's column today on the role of the media when covering tragedies, such as that at Virginia Tech is very interesting (his columns always rock; I wish he'd write something about how the AP rips off other papers, but apparently I'm the only one who finds that interesting). His column was of particular interest to me right now, not just because of VT, but because of Zane's column in our paper today about the ethics of war photographers panel we both attended. That panel was mostly, it seemed to me (though I'm sensitive) hostile to the media, particularly about the media photographing tragic events. And yet, it's true, as media consumers we expect to see, get, tons of information when these things happen. If there was a blackout: no ongoing coverage, no interviews with victims, bystanders, what would we think? I know, for me, I definitely have this automatic response to want to see everything, to know what's going on, and I get frustrated when the news starts looping and there's nothing new... at the same time, I was pretty grossed out watching Paula Zahn interviewing students, particularly one whom I felt she was desperately trying to get him to assign blame, like the night of, when the kid was in shock and had already said he wasn't ready to assign blame.