Grasping “the Disturbing”: The Confusing Coverage of a Shooting in a Monterrey Primary School
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On January 18th, a shooting occurred in an upper middle class private school in the city of Monterrey, Mexico, by a 15 year old student of that institution. As soon as the news coverage started, it reported contradictory data mixing both formal and informal sources. The purpose of this article is to show the evolution of this coverage through the spatial frames given to the event during the first week after the incident, and reflect over the vulnerability that each frame has in making mistakes. This article analyzes the follow-up to the story in four news portals based on Iris and McComb’s categorization of the spatial (individual, community, regional, societal, international). A total of 275 articles were collected from four of the main local news portals, along with other national and international press articles. The main findings show that most mistakes were made at the individual level, due to the lack of official statements during the first hours after the shooting. Community and Regional frames were the most popular since they made the story relevant to a bigger audience, involving families, citizens and other social groups. The societal level was used mostly for opinion articles, where different political debates were raised and questioned regarding children’s mental health, weapons license, and new projects such as “Operación mochila”, related to the backpacks checkups at schools. The growing need to be the fastest one to get things published, due to the immediacy of online mediums, pushes journalism to be unverified and careless. This causes a higher probability for mistakes or factual errors, as in this case, which are later echoed by other newspapers, channels and portals. One of the main conclusions calls for a reflection on the responsibility of local press, especially when they become the main source for national or international press.
keywordsJournalism; violence; misinformation; error; Mexico.
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