Looking at the one-year anniversary of the Va. Tech massacre

The state of Virginia is currently experiencing pains of remembrance.

It was one year ago today that Cho Seung-Hui stalked around the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg and killed more than 30 of his fellow Hokies on April 16, 2007.

The campus experiencing such a grave crisis immediately received much-needed support and prayers as media outlets descended upon the area to keep everyone abreast of the unfolding tragedy.

Wichita State University’s student newspaper, The Sunflower News, covered the event from afar by looking into the safety standards and procedures at home, and the university as a whole showed support by signing a poster that was to be given to Virginia Tech as a sign of WSU’s support and condolences.
Facebook, the social-networking Web site, saw an influx of people showing their support online.

But now it’s a year later. How are people remembering what happened?

At WSU, the travesty the Hokies experienced seems to have gone unremembered. There have been no ceremonies honoring the memory of those that died in the attack, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of such a showing.

The WSU student newspaper has a story in the works that ties into the shootings’ anniversary, but it will have to be a look at the safety measures of the campus since nothing of note in the way of memorial services has taken place.

However, Virginia Tech’s student newspaper, The Collegiate Times, has approached the subject in an amazing way.

The homepage of the newspaper’s Web site has been transformed into an interactive memorial that lists the names of all those that were killed last April.

That newspaper received national recognition for its coverage of the event as it unfolded, and the students running the paper have been praised for doing their jobs in the face of a tragedy that saw friends listed in the deceased category.

Of course, that is a student-run publication that has relatively limited resources compared to a professional operation, and the professional media have addressed the anniversary in a grand fashion.

The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC all have Web pages dedicated to the event, but The Roanoke Times has complied some amazing coverage.

They have built a special Web site containing the coverage, which includes live reporting via blogs, interactive maps, videos and audio slideshows.

The Times even went as far as creating a Facebook page containing more of the newspaper’s content.

It is quite impressive, and it makes one wonder how other news organizations would handle such a dire situation.

It’s hard to say, and it is probably best if that question is never answered.

Even so, journalists across the country should be paying attention and storing away ideas of how they could respond.

As sad as it is, everyone needs to plan for the worse. No one really expected the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and no one thought a mentally unstable person was going to shoot his fellow students a year ago in Virginia.

But it happened.

The coverage many news outlets are giving the anniversary of this horrible event is admirable, especially the Web-savvy, multimedia facets of the coverage.

It is nice to see greatness rise from the ashes of a tragedy that struck so close to the hearts and homes of so many.

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About toddvogts 837 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.

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