Media coverage is essential in our society. Whether print, broadcast, or online, many rely on the skilled reporting of journalists to inform of events that occur locally, nationally, and internationally. When tragedy strikes, reporters are similar to first responders; they arrive immediately and remain on the scene reporting facts and capturing eye witness’ accounts. However, with numerous reporting outlets available, covering a significant event, particularly tragic, can overwhelm viewers with devastating images and information. Some psychologists argue that extensive exposure of tragic events through repeated media coverage discussing a tragedy and displaying graphic images can contribute to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A great example of this is the 2008 shooting massacre at Northern Illinois University (NIU).
Chartered in 1895, NIU opened as the Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1895, as a learning institution solely for college-educated teachers in Dekalb, IL (History, 2011). This state funded university became Northern Illinois University on July 1, 1957. NIU has evolved from small college whose first graduating class totaled less than three hundred students, to a large university currently educating over 25,000 students per semester (History, 2011).
On February 14, 2008, the campus of Northern Illinois University was very quiet around noon. Students were walking to class, and socializing at the popular Student Center. Some students were walking around campus with balloons and flower bouquets given to them by their valentines. The campus would soon be transformed from a quiet celebration of love to a scene of panic and terror.
At approximately 3:05 p.m., NIU alumni Steven Kazmierczak entered a large auditorium-style lecture room in Cole Hall from a back door (Northern Illinois University, 2010). An oceanography class with around one hundred and twenty students was in session. Kazmierczak’s wardrobe included “dark brown boots with laces, jeans, a black t-shirt with the word "Terrorist" written across the chest imposed over an image of an assault rifle; a coat; a black knit hat; and a black utility belt with two magazine holsters, a holster for a handgun, three handguns, eight loaded magazines, and a knife” (Northern Illinois University, 2010). Kazmierczak was reported to have also carried in a 12 gauge Remington Sportsman 48 shotgun concealed in a guitar case (Northern Illinois University, 2010). Loaded with all his artillery, he approached the auditorium.
Kazmierczak entered the auditorium from the vestibule (Northern Illinois University, 2010). Using a door at which led directly to the stage in front of the classroom, he interrupted the instructor with his entrance (Northern Illinois University, 2010). In this spot is where he chose to stand and fire into the crowd of students. According to reports, he opened the door with such extreme force that many witnesses described him as "kicking the door in" (Northern Illinois University, 2010).
Kazmierczak walked only a few feet crossways the stage and began firing into the crowd of students with the shotgun (Northern Illinois University, 2010). Reports say he then shot at the instructor, who was standing on the stage, going over an exam that was given during the previous class session. The instructor attempted to flee using the exit at the corner of the room, but was unsuccessful because the door was locked (Northern Illinois University, 2010). The instructor was able to escape by running towards the auditorium’s main exits, where many students were also trying to exit.
Unfortunately, not all students were able to immediately escape or hide between the older stadium-style seats, according to reports. Some students were able to escape when Kazmericzak paused from gunfire to reload his artillery after firing three rounds (Northern Illinois University, 2010). Reports…