The tragic shooting that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. has left the entire nation in shock and heartbroken beyond belief. We are all grieving the loss of the twenty beautiful children and six dedicated educators who lost their lives in what is being called the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Exactly what took place at the school is still unclear, and while the entirety of the story is still unfolding, one thing is certain: December 14th was a day of devastating tragedy in our nation.
Because of the public’s demand to understand what happened and why, news outlets are taking drastic measures to ensure they report breaking news first. In a time of immeasurable sorrow, reporters are still fighting for ratings, and doing things that do not always uphold their responsibility as journalists.
Some television news journalists that conducted live interviews of the students who survived the shooting have been under fire since Friday. On the day of the incident, in fact, within hours of it, young boys and girls were being interviewed outside their school about what they heard, how they felt and what their classmates were doing. Journalists walk a very thin line between what’s ethical and what’s not, and in many people’s opinions, they may have crossed it altogether.
The Society of Professional Journalism has a Code of Ethics on its website. Part of the code states that journalists should minimize harm and “show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.”
Do you all think journalists desensitized the situation and went too far by interviewing the young students of Sandy Hook Elementary School immediately following the shooting? Did they violate the Society of Professional Journalism’s Code of Ethics? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and community affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. If you would like to help Sandy Hook and Newtown, Conn., you can sign the online national sympathy card on causes.com, make a donation to the United Way’s Sandy Hook School Support Fund, or donate to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund, which is being administered by the school’s PTA.