I have been disturbed since Monday night over the tragedy at Virginia Tech University. The scope of the tragedy speaks for itself. What has bothered me is the coverage of the horrible events. The wall to wall news coverage is to be expected…and appreciated. What I question is the level that the sports media has felt the need to chime in on the story.
There have always been instances when the news and sports divisions of a media organization have merged on a story. Sometimes in tragedy (the 1972 Munich Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Bombings), sometimes in embarrassment (drugs in sports) and sometimes in celebration (any championship victory). In each of these cases news coverage was generated as a result of what took place at the sporting event.
In the case of the Virginia Tech shootings, the sports media has tried to take a strictly news event make it relevent in the sports world. As the events of what took place unfolded, I don’t think it is appropriate for the sports media to weigh in. Did the media really need to get the comments of Hokie football coach Frank Beamer and men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg so early in the course of events on Monday? Unless there were student athletes involved in the shootings, the remarks either coach were not relevent to the story.
What has become a legitimate sports story thus far in this tragedy is the announcement on the status of sporting events at Virginia Tech as a result of the shootings.
Some sports radio shows have tried to embrace the role of news analysts in using their show to discuss the tragedy and ask the questions that the news organizations are also examining. It just seems out of place to me.
There will be plenty of time for sports media organizations to report on this story, especially when the university looks to its sports programs as an outlet during the healing process. Those stories should be covered by news and sports divisions alike. Unless the tragedy occurs during the course of a sporting event, the sports media should let their news divisions handle the coverage of news.