Charlotte Talks: Media Coverage Of School Shootings

May 29, 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Credit Chris Miller / WFAE

How should the media cover school shootings, such as last month's attack at UNC Charlotte? These tragedies raise many questions for the media, the biggest of which is whether to name the shooter. Two media ethics experts share their thoughts with guest host Alex Olgin.

Newsrooms across Charlotte sprang into action when a gunman opened fire in a UNC Charlotte classroom. It was an event that rocked the community, but the three cable news networks gave the shooting less than an hour's worth of coverage.

The shooting took place only days after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting - one of the first to unfold through mass media, and one that was pivotal in shaping how the media covered subsequent school shootings.

What are the best practices for handling these tragedies?


Alex Olgin, reporter, WFAE (@Alexolgin)


Emily Richmond, public editor, Education Writers Association (@EWAEmily)

Bruce Shapiro, executive director, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism