Reporting Roseburg

THE JOURNALISTS’ NARRATIVE

A project capturing the experiences and perspectives of 19 Oregon-area journalists who covered the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The project intent is to contribute to the conversation about how journalism can responsibly cover gun violence, balancing the moral imperatives of seeking truth and minimizing harm.

News Breaks

Journalists were going about their day when news of a shooting broke. Meet the journalists and learn how they got their assignments.

On the Scene

Two of the journalists, Ian Campbell and Michael Sullivan of The News-Review in Roseburg, made it to campus before it was closed. The rest of the media gathered at either a nearby firehouse, where news conferences were held, or the county fairgrounds, where family and friends were instructed to wait. Here’s what the journalists observed.

Approaching Sources

A journalist’s first job in a breaking news event is basic: Find out what happened. Here’s how the journalists approached interviews and/or taking photographs.

Reporting Process

It’s different for everyone: writers, broadcasters, photographers. Here they discuss their journalistic process.

Social Media

Twitter and Facebook, particularly, are integral parts of the reporting process. Here’s how the journalists interacted with social media, which was sometimes a benefit, sometimes a hindrance.

Ethical Challenges

When news breaks and a community is shattering, reporting the news gets especially complicated. Here’s how the journalists made their judgment calls, balancing the moral imperatives of seeking truth and minimizing harm.

Local vs National

All of these journalists were based in Oregon, although not all reported for Oregon news organizations. Here are the differences they saw in how local and national organizations approached coverage.

Emotional Responses

None of the reporters, of course, had to cope with the stress or emotional toll that students and family members did. But that doesn’t mean they were uncaring, unfeeling observers. Here’s what they felt—and how they coped.

Covering the Shooter

To name or not to name? To use an image or not? Here the journalists explain not just what they did, but why they did it.

Reviewing the Coverage

Journalism is a craft—journalists learn through their reporting and the reporting of others. Here they discuss what was done well and what could have been improved, both in covering Roseburg and in reporting on mass shootings in general.

Assessing their Value

Here the journalists explain why what they do matters—not just as individuals, but overall as a profession.

Beyond Breaking News

In an event such as this, the breaking news facts are important. But so is the long term response. Here the journalists who stayed on the scene longer than a few days discuss what they reported and how their jobs changed, from covering funerals and Obama’s visit to the long-term individual and community response.

Covering a Community

Yes, the journalists went to Roseburg to cover a mass school shooting. But they were covering more than a crime—they were reporting on the community where it happened. Here they reflect on why that distinction matters.