Romanticizing Mass Shootings in Media

By Morgan Cannata

Recently, there have been a lot of mass shootings. The media has a responsibility to report events without bias and with fact. This is why suspect’s names are included in reporting. However, is this romanticizing the criminal?

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Is it necessary to print the criminal’s name until it is engrained in our minds more than upstanding citizens? The Huffington Post wrote an article about a reporter, Dave Cullen, who covered the Columbine shooting and wrote the book, Columbine, which took years to complete. The book focused on the motives driving the two young men who shot up their high school, facts about their crime, and their relationships with family and peers. Cullen is usually asked to speak about mass shootings that get a lot of media attention because of his experience.

Recently, he has become less excited about sharing his point of view. He feels the media should not share the suspects’ names because it essentially makes them famous.

As a reporter, Cullen knows reporters need to provide information to the citizens, but believes that the criminals’ names should be kept to a minimum.

After all his experience with shooters’ motives, Cullen believes naming them is “giving them a platform that could potentially influence others craving attention.” Cullen believes a commonality between shooters is they all want attention. They “want to be heard, seen known.”

Is printing a mass shooters’ name repeatedly in publications romanticizing their crime? Where do reporters draw the line when reporting information?

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