In a Tragedy, What's the Responsibility of Media?
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.
DANIEL SCHORR: It gets to be almost commonplace: After the tragedy comes the inquest into the role of the media.
HANSEN: NPR's senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: NBC News, for reasons unknown to NBC News, was the sole recipient of pictures, writings and videos sent by the killer at Virginia Tech between his shooting sprees. News president Steve Capus said that what to put on the air was a tough call. There were the feelings of families to be considered and maybe even the fear of a similarly driven copycat killer. All this weighed against the ill-defined right to know.
HANSEN: I'm not so sure we would accede to this demand in any form.
But finally, in an agony of decision-making, Sulzberger and the Washington Post's Mrs. Graham agreed to cosponsor the Unabomber's essay in the Times. Sulzberger said that this centers on the role of a newspaper as part of a community.
NBC: In a few words - Sulzberger's words - NBC decided what it owed as members of a community. This is Daniel Schorr.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.