TV Reporter & Cameraman Killed During Live Broadcast

A reporter and cameraman with WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia,were shot and killed during a live interview Wednesday. The television station confirmed that Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were the victims.

The gunman, described as a disgruntled former employee, recorded the act on video and posted it online. The 56-second video, since taken down, showed him deliberately waiting until the journalists were on air before firing the gun.

In a case study on newsroom tragedy, Dart Center Chair Emeritus Frank Ochberg suggests newsroom managers take several specific actions in dealing with a violent death among staff:

  • Consider whether to bring in an outside journalist to cover the news story.
  • Remember that it's crucial for people closest to the tragedy to feel respected and cared for.
  • Make intelligent choices about offering internal or outside psychological help. Do not bring in counselors or facilitators who don't understand newsroom culture.
  • Search recent events for journalist peers who have gone through similar episodes.
  • If at all possible, deal with the situation face-to-face and personally.
  • Listen to the needs to survivors — including staff, family and friends — before coming up with solutions.

Please also see our tip sheets on working with traumatic imagery and self-care for news media.