Students Talk About Media Coverage Of Shooting

Shannon Smallman was one of four Biloxi High School seniors who sat down with me and graded the media on its coverage of the Santana High School shooting. In her opinion, "These boys are doing this because they want attention and the media isn't doing anything but giving them more attention."

Sitting next to Shannon was Courtney Lawrence. She said the students at the California high school "just need time to move on. And I think the media isn't helping."

Since Monday, the national media has had extensive coverage of the school shooting. Too much in Smallman's mind. "It isn't doing much good if the media keeps barging in and stretching out all this publicity about these kids when all they want is publicity."

Her friend Elise Moody said, "I mean sometimes I think it's better if they just tell you what happened, maybe repeat it for a couple of days, but not stretch it out as much as they do, because it makes people want to think about it and they want to go out and do the same thing."

Biloxi school superintendent Dr. Larry Drawdy understands the media's interest in the story. His concern is that stories lose their objectivity when they're dragged on for more than a day or two. "How much can you keep saying about one incident that has actually occurred," Dr. Drawdy asked. "Sure it was a very tragic situation that did occur. But at what point do you say enough is enough?"

Santana High School students have already had enough. Earlier this week, they held signs urging the media to go home. Three thousand miles away, they had support from four Biloxi seniors. "You know they're always going to remember it," Moody said. "But they don't want the media to keep on coming back over and over again helping them to remember it."

The Sun Herald newspaper made a decision this week not to run the school shootings on its front page. Saturday night at six on Newswatch This Week, Sun Herald editor Stan Tiner will join us to explain why his newspaper took that stance.