Wednesday brought fears and uncertainty from students, parents and faculty as a suicidal woman with a handgun trespassed on the MU campus. As I was writing a CPD press release article about a shooting that happened Wednesday morning, an alert went off in the newsroom for a threat near campus. We moved to the basement as we awaited further information.
I knew I wanted to cover this story, so I was gathering information through the police scanner and students on campus. When we moved back upstairs to the newsroom, I talked with Katherine on writing up something on what’s happening and got the article. I quickly thought of a unique way to present the information other than the regular nut-graph style. I wanted to do a timeline that shows a step-by-step update.
Within about five to ten minutes, I wrote the article with information up until right before the all clear was given. Once we heard she was in custody, I wanted to know how police knew she was suicidal. Katherine wanted to know if she was a student. I reached out to MUPD but heard nothing. I then reached out to CPD’s PIOs through phone and email. I didn’t hear anything back from them until the press release on the incident was sent out. That was their plan, I assumed – hold off on telling the media anything until after the release.
By that time, my mind shifted to how students felt about the incident. I went to Twitter and found that people were not happy with how MU handled the situation. Many people found that the alert system lacked timely and specific information that could be helpful to students. There were also uncommon terms to students used like White Campus. Students did not know what White Campus was, so they did not know if they were safe. Students also said MU failed to take the situation seriously because teachers still held class.
Here is my story coverage on Wednesday’s incident.