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Virginia Tech Shootings

On Monday, a gunman shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech and then proceeded to kill himself, making it the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. He first went to a dorm at the university where he shot and killed a man and woman. He then went to a engineering buildling where he killed 30 more people. The university and police are under pressure to explain why the did not notify the studentbody and the faculty sooner after the first shooting. Today (Tuesday) the president of the university, Charles Stege, released the information that the gunman was a student.

The first article I read is from MSNBC.com and can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18151625/

This article concentrates on the new information about the guman - the fact that he was a student at the university; therefore, it serves as more of a follow-up article. For the most part, it assumes that the reader knows about the shootings. Due to the fact that it is more of a follow-up article, it is shorter in length; however, it goes contain many news values. It is obviously timely, since this event just happened yesterday. Because it is an online article, the reporters are able to update it more than if they were only able to publish it in paper form or on television. The article definitely shows impact. It shows the impact it has on the police and university:

**...the police and university authorities came under pressure to explain how a gunman apparently evaded detection after killing two people and then went on to kill 30 others in America's worst shooting incident.**

The article shows the impact the students felt in result of this issue:

**Many students expressed anger that they were not warned of any danger until more than two hours after the first attack at a dormitory, and then only in an e-mail from the university.**

It is surprising that there are no interviews with students in this article, but since it is a follow-up, it concentrates on the new facts that are being brought to the table - not the enormous emotional impact this event has on the students involved. Everybody knows how they feel.. now what exactly happened and what is going to happen? This article shows the conflict of the event itself as well as the controversy over the action or lack of action that was taken by officals. Through the phrase above and the following two, the reporter shows the students and the officials side to the issue:

**Mr Steger said the authorities thought the initial shooting at around 7.15am, which took place in the West Ambler Johnston dormitory, was a "domestic fight, maybe a murder-suicide", adding: "We thought it was confined to that dormitory."**

**We knew that there was a shooting but we thought it was confined to a particular setting," Mr Steger had told a press conference late on Monday night, explaining the lack of more urgent measures such as evacuating the sprawling grounds or shutting down the whole campus, which has more than 25,000 students.**

The event is pretty clearly a novelty, since this does not happen everyday and because it is "America's worst shooting incident," as the article says. Regarding the supplemental values, the event does have currency, for it is a subject worthy of discussion and school shootings have happened all over the country over the last 10 years. The fact that the article is concentrated on the fact that the gunman was identified as a student at Virginia Tech is news that is very important; it must be disclosed. This gives the article necessity. It is necessary for the country to know about this incident as a whole because we can possibly learn from their mistakes and the things they did right in such a horrible situation.

The second article I read is from CBS.com and can be found here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/17/ap/national/main2692957.shtml

This article goes way more in depth with the incident than the last one did. Although they have a similar headline, "Gunman was a student," this second article recaps the entire incident up to what they know now. Therefore, it is must longer. The article shows timeliness, since it just happened yesterday and the new information indicating that the gunman was a student was released today. The impact is definitely shown in this article through quotes. Just a few include:

**"For Ryan and Emily and for those whose names we do not know," one woman pleaded in a church service Monday night.

Another mourner added: "For parents near and far who wonder at a time like this, 'Is my child safe?'"

His friend Gregory Walton, a 25-year-old who graduated last year, said he feared the nightmare had just begun.

"I knew when the number was so large that I would know at least one person on that list," said Walton, a banquet manager. "I don't want to look at that list. I don't want to.

"It's just, it's going to be horrible, and it's going to get worse before it gets better."**

This article shows prominence in a small way, but it is definitely there. It mentions President Bush coming to the memorial service Tuesday:

**President Bush planned to attend a memorial service Tuesday afternoon at the university...**

Although it merely mentions it, it is in the third paragraph of the article, which indicates the importance of it: names make news. This article also shows conflict in the same way the first one does. It gives the two sides of the story regarding the action officials took and did not take during the time of crisis:

**Steger said the university was trying to notify students who were already on-campus. "We warned the students that we thought were immediately impacted," he told CNN. "We felt that confining them to the classroom was how to keep them safest."

"I think the university has blood on their hands because of their lack of action after the first incident," said Billy Bason, 18, who lives on the seventh floor of the dorm.**

The article shows novelty for the same reason as the first: it was unexpected and not a part of everyday life. It also was called the "deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history." Concerning the supplemental news values, the article shows currency by talking about other campus shootings and massacres in U.S. history, indicating trends and a subject that IS worthy of discussion. The information in this article is necessary for readers to know because it is breaking news, national news. Like the other article, other universities can learn from Virginia Tech's mistakes and from the things they did right in this kind of situation to better security.

The second article was a little too long, in my opinion. Although it is much more thorough than the first, it seems like the reporter wanted to put everything he/she could into the article; it includes the newest information, a synopsis on the event, a few of the deaths and a mini-obituary on those whose names were released, history on past shootings... I don't think that the reporter did a very good job of selecting what information to concentrate on in the article. The first article, however was really short and to the point. Although it doesn't give any quotes that show the emotional impact on the students, that is not what the article is about. It seems like the reporter made a conscious decision to write about this new info and insert some other facts in there, as well. I think this reporter did a good job of including the information about the event itself into the article without making a big deal of it. For example:

**Mr Steger said the authorities thought the initial shooting at around 7.15am, which took place in the West Ambler Johnston dormitory, was a "domestic fight, maybe a murder-suicide", adding: "We thought it was confined to that dormitory."**

This tells what Steger said, however includes the time and place of the event in case a reader did not read about that before this article. Overall, I think that the second article is easier to read and follow what is going on.

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