The trial has begun in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting and an Arizona couple who lost their son in that shooting are on a mission to change the way the media covers the suspect.
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As a long time reporter, I have very mixed feelings on this. I was taught any intrusion upon a free press is an infringement on constitutional rights and I still believe it is. No outside forces, whether government or the private sector, should have any authority as to how the media covers newsworthy events. On the other hand, as a father of two boys I cannot fathom the pain these families are going through and it does seem very logical to me that publicity plays a sizable role in the motivation behind these mass school shootings.
It would appear the only possible opportunity might be a voluntary restraint policy related to suspect info but even that is going to be difficult in this age of 24 hour news cycles and social media, where anyone can play news reporter. Think about it. Even if the mainstream media agreed to hold back suspect information, anyone outside of the media privy to that same information could post it at will and achieve similar results. I’m just not certain any restraint policy would work within today’s digital reality.