Home » Uncategorized » What can journalists learn from the Boston tragedy?

What can journalists learn from the Boston tragedy?

If you have tuned into the news or been on any form of social media this afternoon, then you most likely know about the tragedy that is unfolding in Boston. I had just come back from class when I saw the news. Yes, I mean saw, as in from someone’s Facebook post saw.

In a matter of minutes of the blasts, there was already a hashtag, #BostonMarathon. TV stations that were recording the race live caught the blasts, instantly making the videos viral. And the press pictures taken at the blast site are now all over the web.

We sadly have had to go through so many tragic events this year.  With each one though, I see a new way in how the media handles it.

In the case of the Newtown shooting, the focus was on the fact that the victims were predominantly children. In the Aurora movie theater incident, the killer’s mental state was highly covered. With this most recent tragedy, it is unclear what story will take predominance.

I have been on Twitter/Facebook since soon after the explosions occurred, and there are already dozens of stories coming out. There are accounts of heroism pouring out amidst the confusion, as well as the bleak outlook of eye witnesses  from the scene. Then you see heartbreaking stories such as how the 26 and final mile of the race, where the explosions occurred, was dedicated to the 26 victims of Newtown and members of the Newtown community were actually running the race at the time.

As an up-and-coming journalist, the fact that so much media on this event has been created in a matter of hours amazes me. What is even more incredible is the fact that so much of the incident was caught live, while the world was watching. The bombings are a horrific tragedy, and is an incident, in my opinion, that has happened too many times to keep happening.

What I am taking away from this right now, however, is not the bloodshed but the fact that because of the press people around the world were notified within minutes of the tragedy. Not only do people around the world now know EXACTLY what happened, but people know that their loved ones are safe because of the race/person finding site set up by Google. Or that because the Red Cross tweeted the need for blood, there is now enough  to cover all the injuries.

Many times people badmouth the press for being too nosy or too one-sided. Today and in similar incidents, all protocol and controversy goes out the window. What is important is getting the information to the people and fast. In this frame of mind,  the way the media has handled the bombings should be applauded for speed, efficiency, and information. And if we keep using this model of live and social media updates, I doubt that there will ever be a situation again where anyone is uninformed.

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