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Discourage copycats

Published December 22, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I firmly believe in freedom of the press. With that freedom comes responsibility.

When all the news media constantly, and for days on end, broadcast and write about massacres ("tragedy" makes it sound like an accident) like what occurred in Newtown, Conn., it sends a message to other potential mass murderers: If you want to be famous, gun down a bunch of schoolchildren; the news media will do the rest.

The public's right to know does not need to include hours of overload and intrusion into others' lives just to sell more papers or raise ratings. What possible good can come from publicizing the anniversary of Columbine every year, except to let copycats know they will be remembered for what they have done?

The news media must ask itself: Is news to inform a democratic society, or is it just to make money? There used to be a clear distinction between the mainstream news media and tabloid journalism. That's not so clear anymore.

Gordon F. Craig

Park City