Ombudsman column

There have been 18 reported shootings in schools across the United States since the beginning of 2018.

In the most recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 17 were killed and 14 were injured. Valentine’s Day, a day supposed to be a day filled with love and relationships was instead met with devastation and tears.

In a situation like this the press is faced with many challenging questions. Should it release the names of the victims? How much attention should be devoted to the shooter? How long is long enough before interviewing eyewitnesses who may be in shock? Should it interview the attacker’s family and friends? How much information is appropriate to release about the individuals involved? Etc.

The simple task of reporting a critical story like this is far more complex than one may imagine. In this instance, a journalist must evaluate the situation. He or she must be ethically and morally sound above all else while reporting nothing but the truth.

It is very difficult to know how to report on sensitive matters such as the shooting in Parkland and its implications regarding the second amendment. Journalists are taught to refrain from including their own opinions in news articles. In other words, pieces that are sensationalized are typically frowned upon and not published.

Thus, it is up to the reporter to maintain journalistic integrity throughout the piece and despite individual opinions, to remain completely objective regarding the topic even when it becomes political or controversial like in this scenario. That is where the opinion section thrives.

We encourage students to join The Talon and voice their ideas in the opinion section of the newspaper. That is where sensationalized writing can be showcased and accepted, but writers are reminded to maintain their journalistic integrity no matter the section they are contributing to.

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