Friday, April 20, 2007


(Each "Question of the Week," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions of the Week are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Unless you've been completely cut off from the media this week, you couldn't have missed the story about the horrific story of what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16, when Cho Seung Hui, 23, went on a killing spree and murdered 32 students. All sorts of individuals, qualified and otherwise, have been opining on what went wrong in Cho's life.
The other day, I spoke with a school principal who told me that within two days of Cho's murder spree a gifted-and-talented sixth grader working on a math problem related to setting up a business decided to establish a pawn shop as his business. Upon being asked "Why did you choose a pawn shop?" his response indicated a direct relationship with having heard about Cho's purchase of one of his weapons from a pawn shop. But even before this principal told me the peculiar choice of a student who had never been in any trouble whatsoever and who by many standards was having the best of upbringings, I had started to wonder about what follows below. The tragedy at Virginia Tech is foremost in my mind, but I've thought about the same issue in relation to many other news stories as well.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK, in two parts:
(1) Why do the media take a sensational story and run with that story, to the near exclusion of other stories? (2) What effects does the media's saturation coverage of sensational stories have on our society?


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/20/2007 09:00:00 AM