New Models: A Central Approach to the Connecticut School Shooting

05 Feb 2013

The trend to centralize newsrooms across a publishing group’s footprint is a growing reality in today’s economic climate. But is it also a trend that can actually lead to better coverage of a major news event as was shown during one of America’s darkest days, the tragedy in Newtown, CT.

This horrific event and its aftermath did bring to life the incredibly sobering fact that so many of the editors at Digital First Media (a company with 800 multi-platform products that reach 61 million Americans across 18 states) have had experience covering mass shootings in their own communities.

To cover the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Digital First Media sent 29 reporters and eight photographers from 17 different daily newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado and Connecticut.  And throughout, the Digital First team on hand had access, advice and assistance from company leaders who’d unfortunately done this before.

They assembled a team of editors and photographers who had in-depth experience dealing with the chaos of tragedies of significant magnitude, and the delicate nuances that go along with them. Editors such as York Daily Record Jim McClure, who is also DFM’s East Editor, Denver Post Editor Greg Moore, who serves as DFM’s Central Editor overseeing news operations in the middle of the country, and Frank Scandale, DFM’s vice president of print production, have all seen their share of major news events involving mass killings.

Moore led his paper’s coverage of the Aurora Theater shootings last summer. McClure oversaw coverage of memorable  Pennsylvania events such as the 2001 machete attack on a Pennsylvania elementary school and  the Amish School tragedy in 2006. And Scandale ran the coverage of the Columbine High School mass killings in 1999 when he was the metro editor of The Denver Post. He also was  the editor in chief of The Record (Bergen County, NJ) when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 2001.

During Newtown’s dark days, this was a positive example of how journalists can come together for across the nation for stronger, more insightful coverage bolstered by first-hand experience covering such horrific tragedies.

Includes contributions from Frank Scandale, Vice President of Print Production, Digital First Media

Join the conversation: Has your company ever taken a central approach to reporting a story?