Covering School Shootings

The following is an minute by minute timeline of how the Collegiate Times — Virginia Tech's student-run, daily newspaper — covered the 2007 campus shooting.

Monday,  April 16, 2007

9 a.m.

Collegiate Times staff member calls editor Amie Steele to report rumors of shootings at a residence hall. Steele dispatches reporters and photographers to the scene and notifies the web staff.

9:26 a.m.

University administration sends a mass e-mail to all students about the residence hall shootings.

9:30 a.m.

Steele hears about shootings at another building across campus and dispatches reporters and photographers there.

9:47 a.m.

The Collegiate Times publishes its first online post about the residence-hall shootings.

9:50 a.m.

University administrators send a second e-mail reporting that a gunman is loose on campus. The student union that houses the Collegiate Times newsroom is locked down.

10:15 a.m.

Collegiate Times online director Chris Ritter arrives at the newspaper's off-campus business office and begins leading online operations there.

10:16 a.m.

University cancels classes.

10:30 a.m.

The Collegiate Times photo editor Shaozhuo Cui, taking pictures of the events unfolding outside the classroom building, is ordered to leave the scene. As he begins to do so, police officers tell him to get on his knees. He complies, and officers then cuff his hands behind his back and, according to Cui, they say over the radio that "We've got a suspect matching the profile."

11:01 a.m.

Trying to process 168 connections per second, the Collegiate Times Web server fails.

11:30 a.m.

Traffic from is redirected to, the Web site of the newspaper's parent company.

11:36 a.m.

The Collegiate Times begins posting updates online again.


University holds its first press conference, announcing 21 killed and 28 injured. Two Collegiate Times reporters spend the rest of the day and much of the rest of the week at the media staging area at Virginia Tech's alumni center.

12:30 p.m.

Cui is released from police custody, but without his cameras, camera bag, driver's license or student ID. Officers tell him they would contact him about his possessions.

1:45 p.m.

The Collegiate Times Web staff arrives in the newsroom.

4:40 p.m.

University officials confirm that 33, including a gunman, have been killed.

5:38 p.m.

The Collegiate Times Web site uploads a redesigned format specifically for the shooting coverage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

1:09 a.m.

The newspaper sends the first of 16 pages to prepress.

6 a.m.

The Collegiate Times puts the newspaper to bed.

9 a.m.

The newspapers are delivered.