Colorado theater shooting


Few answers for reporter who covered Columbine, then Aurora theater shooting

I am a local television reporter.

I never traveled to Afghanistan. I didn’t cover the war in Iraq. I work for CBS in Denver, Colorado. To foreign network correspondents, that might seem dull. But they haven’t covered a mass school shooting in a suburb. They haven’t been awakened at two a.m. to dash off to a mass shooting at a movie theater.

I opted for a career covering my community. I wanted a balance of family life and journalism. At some point, in my twenties, I decided to abandon network glamour for community involvement.

But no one told me I’d be interviewing parents who lost their children because they went to school at one day. No one warned me that the deaths of young people would come, not in a war zone, but in a suburban movie theater. Read more


Jessica Ghawi remembered at memorial service for falling down, getting back up

KENS | Denver Post | San Antonio Express-News | Houston Chronicle
Murdered sports journalist Jessica Ghawi was remembered at a service in San Antonio Saturday. Eulogists mentioned her determination, her zest for life and her propensity to fall down.

San Antonio sports anchor Larry Ramirez said an “invisible banana peel” followed her through life, as exemplified by the now-famous YouTube video of Ghawi, who reported under the name Jessica Redfield, slipping repeatedly on a hockey rink’s ice as she interviewed a San Antonio Rampage player. The video was shown at the service.

Denver Post reporter Adrian Dater fills in a little bit about Ghawi’s life in Denver, where she moved to further her reporting career. She’d been laid off by a sushi restaurant a few days before she was shot during a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a horrific act of mass murder. Read more


ABC News president: Brian Ross’ Aurora shooting error ‘an unfortunate mistake’

During the Television Critics Association press tour this week, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said reporter Brian Ross’ incorrect speculation about the Aurora movie theater shooter “was an unfortunate mistake” that “did not live up to the standards and practices of ABC News.”

He also said the network was taking steps to avoid future mistakes of this nature.

ABC News already issued a public apology after investigative reporter Brian Ross went on “Good Morning America” and incorrectly said movie theater shooter James Holmes     may have been a member of a local tea party chapter.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Sherwood’s remarks at the Television Critics event: “We put something on the air that we did not know to be true and the part that we needed to be true was not germane to the story we were covering,” he said. Read more

Pooled interview coverage

Denver TV stations pool interviews with theater shooting victims, families

Kevin Torres is a multimedia journalist for KUSA-TV, the NBC station in Denver. Usually he shoots, writes and edits his own stories.

On Tuesday, the key interview in his story was shot by the ABC station in town. On Wednesday, the Fox affiliate shot the interview for his story.

What began as a routine way for Denver stations to share the most mundane coverage of everyday press conferences and staged events has turned into a way for victims of last week’s theater shooting, and their families, to do one TV interview rather than dozens.

“The rules that we operate under are that a station can’t even look over what they shot until they feed it out to everybody,” Torres told me by email. “You can’t post it online, you can’t write about it until everybody in the pool has it.”

The stations started pooling coverage in 2009 when KUSA and KMGH agreed to share a news helicopter. Read more


ABC affiliate contradicts ABC News reporting on James Holmes’ behavior in jail

KMGH-TV | ABC News | Denver Post

KMGH-TV, the ABC affiliate in Denver, has taken the unusual step of publishing a story to contradict an ABC News report about accused theater shooter James Holmes.

ABC News’ Russell Goldman and Dan Harris reported, “Accused movie theater gunman James Holmes is spitting at jail officers so frequently that at one point he was made to wear a face guard, sources told ABC News.”

KMGH’s John Ferrugia reported in response, “According to knowledgeable sources, reports that Holmes was spitting at guards in jail are ‘simply false.’ ”

The New York Daily News appears to have been the first to report that Holmes had been spitting at guards, publishing a story on Saturday. KMGH reported on Monday, however, that Holmes was “eerily detached” in jail and his behavior hadn’t changed since he had been arrested. Read more

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Jessica Ghawi scholarship raises more than $30,000 in a day

Yahoo News | San Antonio Express-News
A fund set up by the family of murdered sports journalist Jessica Ghawi hit its fundraising goal less than a day after it was announced Tuesday. The family hoped to raise $20,000; as I write this, the fund is at $30,155. Ghawi worked under the name Jessica Redfield and covered hockey as well as other sports. The fund “will be seed money for the scholarship to help send another upcoming young sports talent to study journalism,” the announcement reads.

Family members told the San Antonio Express-News’ Ana Ley they believed $10,000 was donated by the Los Angeles Kings. The funders page acknowledges an undisclosed gift amount from “AEG Sports (LA Kings/LA Galaxy)” as well as contributions from and Ghawi’s brother Jordan. Read more


Denver Post covering Colorado shooting without a copy desk

Journal-isms | The Buttry Diary
In the 13 years since the massacres at Colorado’s Columbine High School and last week’s tragedy in Aurora, Colo., The Denver Post has lost dozens of newsroom staffers, Editor Greg Moore told readers of Richard Prince’s Journal-isms.

“I was not here for Columbine, but the other day we were looking at those Columbine papers and marveling at the talent that is no longer here,” Moore said. “My guess is the staff was around 240 or so in 1999. Today we have about 170.”

The Post is also covering one of the biggest breaking news stories in the country without copy editors. The paper announced in May that it was eliminating its copy desk, spreading that responsibility to reporters and editors throughout the newsroom. Read more


Reuters editor names theater-shooting ‘person of interest’ on Twitter

To understand why Reuters Deputy Social Media Editor Matthew Keys has earned such a wide Twitter audience, scan through the last 72 hours or so of his tweets. He’s been an invaluable process-journalism firehose about Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes, digging up photos of the alleged shooter’s car, stories about investigations into his background and his spurned application to a Colorado shooting range.

Presumably out of the same duty to transparency, Keys tweeted the name of an “associate” of Holmes who police had been looking for:

Read more

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Public tributes reflect sports journalist Jessica Ghawi’s very public life

Deadspin | KENS | CNN
Sports journalist Jessica Ghawi was one of 12 victims who were murdered in a mass shooting Friday in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. Through social and traditional media, Ghawi, who worked under the name Jessica Redfield, lived very much in public, something reflected in the tributes to the 24-year-old.

Barry Petchesky at Deadspin reveals the touching reason she worked under Redfield — it was her grandmother’s maiden name. “She always wanted to be a journalist, never had the chance,” Ghawi said. Read more


If I were an 18-year-old aspiring journalist, I’d want to be like Morgan Jones

Welcome to national journalism, Morgan.

I’m among those who admire your instincts, initiative and energy and I’m reminded of how important and exciting being part of news coverage felt at your age — something that hasn’t faded much, actually, at my age. Though you just graduated from high school in June, one day ago you delivered a live timeline of breaking news that earned national attention from readers, editors and broadcast producers.

You “fast became the go-to source in the story” of the movie theater massacre near Denver during its earliest hours, says a post at BuzzFeed.

Huffington Post is more breathlessly effusive in its pickup of that July 20 interview:

“In an unbelievable display of citizen journalism, an 18-year-old Reddit user shared up-to-the-moment coverage of yesterday’s Aurora shooting through the night and into the morning hours.

Read more
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