Here in Houston a nearby high school recently had its own mini news story. A student was killed and two others injured when a 20-year-old drunk driver hit the SUV they were in, killing the 18-year-old student.
Like VT, the media covered the event as a news story, but they also covered the aftermath too. They were at the funeral and the memorial. They interviewed students and others about the crash and his life.
How do you teach students how to handle such a delicate issue as death. There is a compelling news interest for stories such as this – a shooting massacre, a drunk driver kills a teen – but there also needs to be a time for the media to step away from the story and not turn it into a never ending Anna Nicole Smith baby-daddy marathon.
We discussed this in my broadcast journalism class today. We talked about the line between news and invasion of people’s personal space for grief. When is it too much? How do you know? How can you identify it before you’ve accidentally crossed the line? Hard questions.