Newtown Bee: "Please Stay Away From The Victims"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 17 2012 3:34 PM

Newtown Bee: "Please Stay Away From The Victims"

158474326
Mourners leave from Honan funeral home after attending the funeral for Jack Pinto, 6, one of the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting

Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.

The stunning tragedy of the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday has put Newtown in the center of a national search for information and understanding. That's creating some tension in the community, as some ask journalists to give privacy to those in mourning. Among those voices? The local Newtown Bee.

The local weekly posted the following message to Facebook and Twitter today:

On behalf of the entire staff of The Bee - we are imploring ALL our colleagues and journalists to PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THE VICTIMS. We acknowledge it is your right to try and make contact, but we beg you to do what is right and let them grieve and ready their funeral plans in peace.
Advertisement

The post already has nearly 3,800 likes.

For more context, Poynter interviewed Shannon Hicks and John Voket of the Bee. Hicks took the now ubiquitous photograph at the scene of the shooting depicting schoolchildren, eyes closed, walking in a line hand-to-shoulder away from the building. Voket discussed what it's like to report on a tragedy happening in your own community:

“We operate a little differently because our job is to take care of the community so we were inside helping to comfort victims and trying to provide human support without necessarily making reporting the number one priority,” Voket said. “The publisher came down to comfort some of the families a little later in the day.”

Connecticut-based editor Megan Greenwell of ESPN Magazine flagged that quote on her personal blog, where she noted the "striking" difference between local and national coverage of the tragedy: "And that makes sense: The Bee and Courant and WNPR are for Connecticut. Everything else is for interested outsiders. You cover something differently when it’s yours."  

There's been some push-back on coverage of the shootings from national outlets, too, albeit somewhat self-consciously. Slate's Justin Peters noted some of the tension between a community in mourning and the journalists who want their stories in his post from the town on Friday. Meanwhile, over at PBS, Hari Sreenivasan has written a reflective post from the perspective of a journalist parachuting into the town to cover the tragedy.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 23 2014 3:55 PM Panda Sluggers Democrats are in trouble. Time to bash China.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 4:03 PM You’re Doing It Wrong: Puttanesca Sauce
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 4:36 PM Vampire Porn Mindgeek is a cautionary tale of consolidating production and distribution in a single, monopolistic owner.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.