April 16, 2007

A local face to international news

Today's massacre at Virginia Tech is a scary thing, even though it's about 3 hours from us. Undoubtedly, it's a major story, and one thing we try to do at our weekly newspaper is put local faces to national issues.

That's what I've been busy with this afternoon. I've got a working list of about 2 dozen county kids attending Virginia Tech, and I've been working all sorts of angles to check on them. Our local kids have graduated from three public schools, and Tech is a popular choice for college.

Official word on victims is not likely to come soon. I've got pretty good information that everyone from one of our schools is OK. That includes two who are residents of the dorm in which the first shooting occurred. Info on the other two schools is sketchier, so I'm still working on it.

It's rare that such big news ties into our coverage area, but this is a time when a weekly newspaper can really do a community service by sharing news, possibly correcting rumors and telling the stories that everyone's talking about.

When the sun rises tomorrow, I suggest checking the front pages of newspapers around the world at the Newseum to see how dailies around the country handled the story. I've already got a headline in mind. We'll see if anyone else uses it. (You'd be surprised how much duplication there is when it comes to headlines for such major stories.)

UPDATE -- 5:25 p.m.
As with any big story like this, initial information can be hard to come by. Facts and figures change and morph as the confusion dies down. That can be seen in coverage online, such as at Yahoo News

Throughout the day, I've been checking in on the school's newspaper, which has done a neat job adding updates as they come available. They're to be commended.

Posted by JRC at April 16, 2007 05:18 PM | TrackBack