Dart Blog

Jul 20 2012 12:31 PM

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Aurora's Horror: Tips for Responsible Coverage

For reporters covering the horrifying shooting spree at an Aurora, Colorado screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the Dart Center has an array of tipsheets and other resources.

Psychiatrist Frank Ochberg, M.D. and Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center, share insights on the characteristics of mass killers and the ethical responsibilities of news organizations. Dave Cullen, author of Columbine, offers his advice on how to avoid perpetuating myths and other pitfalls.

Various Dart Center fellows and journalists offer tips on how to report mass murder.

On the tenth anniversary of the Columbine shootings, Meg Spratt gives a special report on covering school shootings, including examples and videos from Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.

Bruce Shapiro reflects on the shootings at Fort Hood from November of 2009 and explains that reporters need to avoid laying out myths, false explanations, and misleading headlines from day one. He also provides a tip sheet on how newsrooms can prepare to cover a hometown shooting or other catastrophe.

Audrey Lott Watkins talks about how covering the 1998 Jonesboro school shootings changed her as a reporter and offers a two-part report on how reporters covering Columbine felt after covering the massacre.

Three pieces from Diane Bui: one article about how witnesses to the Columbine shootings were unusually willing to talk to reporters; a piece about one photojournalist's response to covering the killings; and a look at how three different people respond to heart-wrenching photographs published in the aftermath.

How the student reporters at Virginia Tech covered the shootings on campus, an article by Joe Hight.

From our collection of DVD and video resources: "Covering Columbine," a DVD by Meg Moritz of the University of Colorado, about how journalists, students, and community members felt about how the story was reported at the time and a year later. You can watch the whole video online, or qualified journalism educators can order the DVD to be shipped to them for free. Meg Moritz also offers four lessons on how the media should cover school shootings. For those who read German: Winnenden six months on, an in-depth report on the continuing challenges facing a small town devastated by a school-shooting. The anniversary issue was the product of an initiative which brought together local journalists, community members affected by the killings and representatives of Dart Centre Europe.

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