Three journalists from The News-Review were interviewed along with 16 other Oregon journalists for a web-based compilation of their experiences, reactions and lessons from the Oct. 1, 2015, shooting at Umpqua Community College.
After the shooting, Nicole Dahmen, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon, and Lori Shontz, a journalism instructor at the university’s School of Journalism and Communication, spent a year interviewing reporters from The Register-Guard, The Oregonian, The Washington Post and Ian Campbell, Troy Brynelson and Michael Sullivan from The News-Review.
Reporters and editors from KATU, the ABC affiliate in Portland, KOIN, the CBS affiliate in Portland, and KEZI, the ABC affiliate in Eugene, were also interviewed.
“This project doesn’t advocate for any one approach or any one perspective,” Dahmen told The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a nonprofit school for journalism. “This is 19 journalists talking about their day, their reporting process, their emotional reactions, what they learned.”
Both instructors plan to use “Reporting Roseburg” throughout their classes this year. On the project’s website, the instructors say “the intent is to learn what it is like to be thrust from a normal day on the job into a horrific breaking news event that dominates the national news cycle and upends the communities where the tragedy happened.”
Dahmen and Shontz said they wanted to learn about the journalists’ experiences and help other journalists, educators, researchers and community members learn from their stories.
“I think it’s impossible to watch and listen to the journalists discuss what they did that day and think of the media as an unfeeling monolith,” Shontz said during an interview with Poynter. “You can’t just be like ‘media equals evil’ after you watch this.”
In the website’s production notes, Dahman and Shontz said they hope to learn how journalism can responsibly cover mass shootings, “balancing the moral imperatives of seeking truth and minimizing harm.”
The project, “Reporting Roseburg,” can be found at http://reportingroseburg.uoregon.edu/