Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Following the news

A couple years ago, I would have been on this VT story like crazy, scouring the Web for links and research background sources. I'm sure researchers in newsrooms across the country -- and particularly at newspapers near Blacksburg like the McClatchy newspapers in Raleigh and Charlotte -- are doing the same now. McClatchy's Washington bureau is keeping a VT news blog, with links to lots of info.

Others not affiliated with particular news organizations are helping, too, as usual. The Poynter Institution's site is filled with VT links, compiled by Pat Walters, a fellow there. Poynter's Al Tompkins is also doing his usual job of finding information in places you might not think to look, including lots of student blogs and MySpace pages. Included, a New York Times profile of rampage killers with some interesting generalizations:
They give lots of warning and even tell people explicitly what they plan to do. They carry semiautomatic weapons they have obtained easily and, in most cases, legally.
They do not try to get away. In the end, half turn their guns on themselves or are shot dead by others. They not only want to kill, they also want to die.

IRE, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and NICAR, have compiled their usual great list of resources on campus shootings, including stories from their archives and tipsheets from conferences, although you may have to be a member to access some of these.

Of course, Memeorandum is, as always, a great place to find the major stories on the topic, along with links to related blog postings.

(Update:) A Boing Boing reader notes that this is not the largest mass murder in U.S. history, or even the largest at a school, and points to the Wikipedia Entry on the Bath, Michigan, school disaster of 1927, where 45 were killed by a school board member who murdered family members then set off a bomb at the school.

(Later update:) Lots of links to local news coverage and other things from Hillbilly Savants (including a report from a writer near the VT campus). (Thanks to Blue Ridge Blog.)

And: I should have mentioned the Roanoke Times, which is of course probably the closest major newspaper in the area. The Times always gets great reviews for its Web presence.

(Reading this site, and those of two other Real Cities sites today (Raleigh and Charlotte), I'm struck by the differences among the newspapers' sites. Of all of them, the News & Observer of Raleigh has the best, far as I can tell. There's a long Web tradition at the N&O, from before it was acquired by McClatchy ten years ago or so: The NandO Times was one of the first great newspaper web sites. Now is filled with news on the front page. No digging around to see what's in the news here: you can scroll way, way down on the page, for international, business news, politics, photo galleries, and lots more.
Not like the paper I still try to read online nearly every day, A quick scan gives you no idea what news is really in the newspaper -- or on the site. No dig on the Miami Herald's online staff, which has been cut severely over the years. But you'd think there would be a standard for all McClatchy -- or Real Cities -- newspapers.)

I'll be adding to this as I find new good compilations. Meanwhile, though, looking at last year's news, I'm thrilled for former colleagues Debbie Cenziper, Charlie Savage and Andrea Elliott, who all won Pulitzer Prizes this year. Sheila Lennon has again compiled a great posting that gathers all the news of the Pulitzers as well as links to the original submissions, where possible, and excerpts. A great overview of how vital journalism still is.

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  • It looks like a PJ pal might have solved one of the mysteries of this case that now has the media perplexed: the "Ismail Ax" on the arm of the shooter. According to my buddy, Charles Henrickson (and fellow EVIL rightwing Freeper), that name is actually "Ismail Ak," a well known Turkish psychiatric professor. You can read about Henrickson's thesis in detail HERE.

    Oh, and don't forget to thank Ol' PJ for giving you this scoop.

    p.s. Henrickson has worked with me in creating some satirical evil rightwing songs.

    By Blogger PJ-Comix, at 12:53 AM  

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