Critics Blast TV Coverage of Sandy Hook Shootings, Focusing on Interviews With Frightened Children

Dec 17, 2012  •  Post A Comment

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killings, viewers and critics have taken aim at television coverage that included interviews with frightened children outside the school, reports TVNewser.com.

Time magazine’s James Poniewozik writes that aiming cameras at the children — even before they were aware of what was happening — was wrong and went against guidelines suggested by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

"It was arresting. It was heartbreaking. And it was rash, unnecessary and wrong," he writes. "There is no good journalistic reason to put a child at a mass-murder scene on live TV, permission of the parents or not. There’s not even a bad-but-practical reason to do it, beyond getting buzz and adding ‘color’ to a story. No one learned anything they couldn’t have from talking to people off-camera and privately."

According to the Dart Center, journalists should "avoid interviewing children at the scene. They are very likely in shock and need comfort, not questioning."

Politico’s Mackenzie Weinger writes that some believe the media attention can make the trauma worse for children. "From a clinical point of view, Dr. Steve Marans, a Yale psychiatry professor and the director of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, said interviewing a child after an overwhelming event ‘can actually add to burdens children are already experiencing,’" the story reports.

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