A couple brief notes on the Virginia Tech shooting | Bleader

A couple brief notes on the Virginia Tech shooting

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* Of all the media outlets in all the world that have been covering the shootings (including my hometown paper, which has put together one of the most comprehensive reports), the biggest break so far seems to have come from Michael Sneed, who reported Monday evening on a possible suspect. She doesn't give a name, but the information she does give is highly specific--a 24-year-old man who arrived in the country on a student visa, via Shanghai, on Aug. 7. If this suspect turns out to be the perpetrator, it will be the Sun-Times, as far as I can tell, that was first to identify (if not necessarily name) the killer.

Update: ABC News reports the killer was a 23-year-old resident alien, originally from South Korea and living in Centreville, Virginia.

* Reports are calling it the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, but it's not the deadliest school killing. That remains the 1927 Bath Township massacre in central Michigan, a bizarre but seemingly forgotten incident.

* Eric Zorn makes a difficult but salient point: this happens every day in Baghdad. Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State department official, has a similar take. FWIW, the city of Chicago reports 46 murders through February of this year (PDF).

* You're going to hear a lot of stuff about the Internet and "citizen journalism" like this:

"But for all the star power and resources of the big boys, no one offered any better sense of the effects of what had transpired than those amateur video, audio and images that poured into various outlets from the scene....  There remains a role for traditional media, but, increasingly, the news is speaking for itself."

(One of the many roles played by the traditional media on Monday: trying to tell the Internet that Wayne Chiang did not kill 33 people.)

Personally I fail to see the news value in blurry camera-phone video with audible gunshots--other than shock value--but reasonable people can, presumably, offer an argument for it. However, that doesn't make it reporting any more than seeing someone shoplifting makes me a detective.

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