"We were fully aware of our tragedy, we’re trying to say to the world, please give us a chance to grow into that really happy, healthy place that loves children and families, that has great schools .... We need you to help us get there by please staying away." That was Newtown selectman Pat Llodra's plea to the press yesterday afternoon. Newtown wants the media to stay away from the anniversary events marking last year's shooting tragedy.
I can see why the families of Newtown wouldn't want news trucks flooding their town on December 14. A media circus is the last thing the community needs at this time. In response, several print, cable, and network news organizations have agreed not to report on the anniversary from Newtown. Here is what several of them say.
USA TODAY Editor-in-Chief David Callaway says, "We'll respect the wishes of the people of Newtown" by not reporting from the town.
CNN spokeswoman Bridget Leininger says, "While CNN plans to cover the one-year anniversary across our networks and platforms, we are respecting the wishes of the families, and we are not reporting from Newtown on Saturday."
NBC News Spokeswoman Erika Masonhall says, “NBC News is respecting the town’s wishes and our broadcasts have no plans to be in Newtown for the anniversary.”
ABC News will not be reporting from Newtown.
Yahoo News will not have a physical presence in Newtown on December 14.
New York Times told Yahoo via a spokeswoman, "We've reported a number of stories already -- all in a low-key, respectful manner -- and they'll run in conjunction with the anniversary."
Good for all of these news outlets! As a few spokespeople have pointed out, there is no reason why reporting needs to be done from Newtown on that day. You can cover the story any number of different ways either before the date or from other locations.
One major network will still be reporting from Newtown. CBS News director of special events Time Gaughan says, “Our goal is to have the smallest footprint possible. We don’t want to be intrusive, but we’re confident we can report the story and not get in the way.” I don't get this -- are they trying for better ratings? I sure hope that's not the motivation, because that would be horribly insensitive and crass, even for a news outlet. What possible advantage could there be? I hope they change their minds. I really don't see how they can avoid getting in the way when they're there. Parking spots for news vans have already been refused to the network.
Other news outlets, including FOX News, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press, have yet to state their plans for the anniversary.
Meanwhile, victims' families also announced they have created a website, My Sandy Hook Family, where visitors can remember and learn more about the children who lost their lives last year.
Do you think news outlets should report from Newtown on the anniversary, or should they stay away?
Image via Armin Vogel/Flickr