Should the media name mass shooters? | The Tylt

Should the media name mass shooters?

Inside a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., a former U.S. Marine threw a smoke bomb and opened fire on the crowd, leaving 13 dead, including the gunman himself, and 18 injured. Many feel after such tragedies, the shooter's name should be conservatively shared for the media, if at all, and emphasis placed on victims and survivors instead. Others say–with empathy–that the media has a responsibility to report the shooter's backstory. Should the media narrow its focus?

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Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of mass shootings in the U.S. to draw meaningful insight from. Everyone can agree that mass shootings should never take place, but many feel that a trend of glorification follows these shootings all too often. By highlighting a shooter's name and image, the media offers pseudo-fame to perpetrators, encouraging others to follow the violence being discussed and dissected. 

As Vox's Jaclyn Schildkraut points out: 

There are a number of problems with the intense media focus on mass shooting perpetrators. First, they are explicitly seeking fame, and the media is helping them to achieve this end. The realization that this route to fame 'works' can, in turn, produce more lethal events and foster one-upmanship among perpetrators.

Multiple campaigns exist to end this practice, including one created by the FBI. Schildkraut explains the goals of such organizations like "No Notoriety" and "Don't Name Them."

Don’t use the name in headlines, and don’t splash photographs across news pages. Limit mention of the name to once per story, if it must be used.
Mass and school shootings, by their very nature, are extraordinarily sensational and will generate public interest that can only be sated by the media. With such a significant role, the need for responsible behavior is heightened. By adopting the No Notoriety policy, the media can play a small but crucial role in reducing the likelihood of another tragedy....
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There's no question that the media should spend time honoring victims of shootings and finding more information from survivors, but in these cases, the shooter is, unfortunately, a key part of the story that must be reported to the public. 

Journalists have a responsibility to present unbiased information to the masses. Although there are a number of gray areas when it comes to journalistic ethics, this is an unalienable truth. 

Naming a shooter prevents misinformation, and profiling their background can help identify trends, as well as inform public opinion on what should be done to prevent such tragedies in the future. According to teacher and media-ethics expert, Kelly McBride

Instead of vowing to avoid the name of the shooter, journalists would be better off promising to use the name responsibly, to tell the stories of the victims completely and to refrain from publishing poorly-sourced information that has a higher likelihood of being wrong.

It doesn't have to be either/or. Journalists can honor victims and fully inform the public on what has transpired. In this emotional clip, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper listed the names of every victim in the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Cooper demonstrated that the media can both honor victims and report a story in full. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should the media name mass shooters?
#MediaHasAJob
A festive crown for the winner
#MediaGlorifies