We posted an article a few days ago encouraging journalists to attend the April 25 panel discussion at Northern Illinois University that will delve a little more deeply into the coverage of the February mass shooting in Aurora.
But there’s more to this panel discussion than just a journalist’s how-to — so we’re taking a minute to make a pitch to police, public information officers, government officials, Northern Illinois University students and members of the general public to attend.
The seminar is free, the conversation will be lively and people who attend will leave with a better understanding of what happened Feb. 15 at the Pratt Company in Aurora, how the mass shooting was covered and what we all can do better the next time a mass shooting happens in our community.
The seminar starts at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center on the NIU campus. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and there will be coffee, doughnuts and networking opportunities.
A panel discussion will be moderated by Joe Biesk, an editor on the Chicago Tribune’s politics team.
The panelists will be people intimately familiar with the Feb. 15 mass shooting:
Anita Lewis, a Pratt Company employee and Kane County Board member, will tell us what it was like to be in the building at the time of the shooting and offer insights about the media coverage.
Beacon-News reporter Megan Jones and Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair will share insights about the coverage and how they were able to produce compelling stories and images under desperately difficult circumstances.
Aurora Police Department Public Information Officer Bill Rowley — whose first day on the job was Feb. 15 — will explain the behind-the-scenes machinations and offer a fresh perspective about the flow of information.
Should the media report the name and provide images of a mass murderer? How is the public best served by coverage of shooting events? What are the difficulties of reporting and how can they be overcome? How accurate was the news coverage of the Pratt Company shooting?
These are other questions will be part of the far-reaching discussion.