The Boston Marathon Bombings Coverage
Category: Current Event
Issue: The way breaking news events are covered (not so much a societal issue, but a journalism issue that needs to be changed).
It’s been three weeks since the Boston bombings. Yet, we’re still focused on the coverage of the Tsarnaev brothers. This time it’s where will the older brother’s body go? There was little coverage on the victims, or how to help the victims. If there was anything about the victims, it was on a story lower down on publications’s websites or even on the side of an article focused on the Tsarnaev brothers. The only victim I remember reading about was because The Hangover star Bradley Cooper visited him in the hospital. After reading some of the comments on the articles, I saw that people were very upset that CNN or Fox did not take more time to honor the victims, instead of the terrorists.
These comments were repeated in the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. They were said in the July 2012 Colorado theater shooting. Basically, they were along the lines of , “STOP SHOWING US THE CRIMINAL. Why can’t you focus on the VICTIMS that were lost here? We don’t want to know about such an evil man.” This is a large issue in today’s journalism society. Where is the line between too much coverage of the suspects vs too much coverage of the victims?
Although I believe that publications may focus too heavily on the suspects of large crimes at times, I think one of the main reasons the victims aren’t reported on is because of respect to the family. How would you feel if you turned on the news and your daughter’s face kept on popping up? I remember seeing an article smack dab in the middle of the Badger Herald about my friend who died last fall and wanting to yell at the writers. I think it’s important to give honor to the victims, but not immediately. So to those people who feel as though not enough coverage is given to the victims, this is why.
The reason why the suspects are more widely reported on is because, well, it’s more interesting. In addition, I believe it’s important to get to the understanding of why they would do such a thing. For the Adam Lanza example, it was a break through to find he used to play shooter video games all the time. When this was reported, many people who play shooter games could think twice about their actions. My little brother actually quit playing Call of Duty after this incident when my mom asked him too. In that sense, it’s important to understand the suspect’s background because it gives the reader insight on why something happened and if there is a way prevent it from happening again.
One of the main things I think people can learn from the background of suspects is the lack of mental health knowledge. There’s a stigma that if you have a mental illness, you’re just a “monster” and should deal with it. However, there are options that can help you, such as medication and therapy. If Lanza sought help, the shooting could have never happened. Therefore, news coverage gives in insight as to why something had happened. More importantly, how this should be prevented next time.
There were some other things that I agree with the comments that think publications should have not reported after the Boston bombings, however. For example, one publication gave instructions on how a pressure cooker bomb was made. Not exactly what needs to be reported in this sensitive time.
Overall, I think it’s important to cover all sides of the story to understand why it happened. I do believe that some news stations do focus too much on the suspect, and not enough on the victims. However, there is a reason for that because news stations and their viewers are trying to understand why something happened.