Tragedies demand a deft approach to coverage

Journalism and PR must assume different roles during such horrific events as happened Friday in Connecticut, says a former reporter who covered the Columbine shootings.

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First came the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, and then the Aurora theater shootings this past July. In between, similar senseless incidents evoked the feeling of hopelessness and despair.

It happened again last Friday with the shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Like many of my colleagues who have school-age children, I left my newspapers on the porch and didn’t turn on the television for the most of the weekend. I tried to stifle my feelings of anger and outrage and my despair that such shootings have become all too common.

On Sunday night, however, I broke my self-imposed news blackout and watched the live coverage of the touching church service in Newtown. The innocence of those children will not leave my thoughts.

In a radio interview after the Aurora theater shootings, Frank DeAngelis, who was principal of Columbine High School during the 1999 shootings and still holds that job today, said the healing process in such tragic situations is a marathon, not a sprint.

On Friday, he gave media interviews on the Newtown shootings, saying:

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