Virginia Tech coverage not lacking when D.O.'s resources considered


Virginia Tech coverage not lacking when D.O.'s resources considered


By: Shannon Pittman-Price
Posted: 4/26/07

Last week, the worst school shooting in American history happened on the campus of Virginia Tech. The day after the shooting, most students went to The Daily Orange to read the coverage on the shootings. Some students were disappointed with how much coverage was shown in the student newspaper.

D.O. reader Alisa Lopano wrote, "I'm very disappointed in the minimal story coverage in Tuesday's Daily Orange of the tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech ... Rubin stepping down as dean of Newhouse and the inadequate condition of South Campus are important, but not as important as one of the most memorable and horrific days of recent years."

Ashley Tabor, sophomore English and textual studies and political science major, and Sydney Axson, sophomore political science and biology major, wrote, "It is a shame to admit, but for some students, The D.O. is their primary source of information. It's the paper they pick up first in the morning before anything else. There is no excuse for making an article about something as infinitesimal as housing woes... out to be a bigger issue than an event that has shattered the lives of so many."

Last week's editions may not have seemed to reflect much coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy to some readers, but with the resources The D.O. had, it did provide as much information as it could have at the time.

"What goes on the front page is a decision made by all head editors of each section," said Melanie Hicken, The D.O.'s news editor. "We did try to get in contact with people down there, but we did not get a hold of anyone."

As a campus newspaper, there are only so many resources that are available. There are not any reporters or photographers that would have been at the scene to provide stories and photos. The paper also has a policy of not running stories that are not written by staff. That would rule out any wire photos and stories.

Hicken said The D.O. tries to take stories like this particular one and see how it can be told by the way it affects the SU community. They wanted to provide information that was not available anywhere else to the community. That is exactly what a newspaper is supposed to do.

"We wanted to look at how the SU safety was, and how safe SU was. We have not forgotten about the VT victims. We just did not have resources to provide news that has not already been told, especially when on this campus you can go and get The New York Times and The Post-Standard," Hicken said.

The D.O. did provide stories that covered the Virginia Tech tragedy. They did not ignore the magnitude of the event, and the decisions they made were good. There were still stories above the fold that dealt with the tragedy even on Tuesday. They had a story about SU's mourning and vigil, and about how the SU community reacted to the tragedy. The paper did its job as a campus newspaper with the resources that were available.

Shannon Pittman-Price is the public editor for The Daily Orange. E-mail her at


Original Source:<a href=>The Daily Orange - April 26, 2007</a>


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Shannon Pittman-Price, “Virginia Tech coverage not lacking when D.O.&#39;s resources considered,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 18, 2024,