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21 July 2012

How the media shouldn’t cover a mass murder

A look at the "Batman killer" front pages.

By Helen Lewis

Every time there’s a mass shooting, I remember this piece of footage from Charlie Brooker’s BBC series Newswipe. In it, a forensic psychiatrist outlines the guidelines for news reporting of such a tragedy, assuming that your aim is to prevent further ones.

 

He says:

If you don’t want to propagate more mass murders…

Don’t start the story with sirens blaring.

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Don’t have photographs of the killer.

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Don’t make this 24/7 coverage.

Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story.

Not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero.

Do localise this story to the affected community and as boring as possible in every other market. 

Here are this morning’s front pages. Judge for yourself who has done a good job of heeding that advice, and who hasn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of @hendopolis