I woke up to a news alert in my email to find that Morgan State University joined “a club we don’t want to be a member of and we don’t want any more members in it,” to quote a friend who survived a mass shooting on a college campus. Five people were shot overnight during a homecoming event at the Baltimore-area institution. The injuries are not life-threatening, according to officials, and the shooter hasn’t been captured.
The first stop on the Filak Furlough Tour covered the issue of crime, chaos and disasters. We discussed how to cover them and what kinds of things you need to do to keep yourself safe, both mentally and physically. In covering this topic, I’ve mentioned before the discussion I had with my friend Kelly Furnas, who was the adviser of the student newspaper at Virginia Tech when a mass shooting took the lives of 32 innocent people on that campus.
When I was able to secure him for a presentation at a college media convention less than a year after that event, it was a huge “get” because he and his editorial staff had experienced something so rare and mystifying that we all were desperate to hear what he had to say. He told me later that as he continued to do the “convention circuit,” he went from being an anomaly to being one of an increasingly growing group of people who had dealt with this. His sessions, he said, went from being a “here’s what happened” to a “here’s how you cover it when it happens to you.”
The students at The Spokesman did a good job of strong journalism on this one, and I’d argue they were stronger than the national outlets who somehow managed to not get the last names of sources or time elements into their stories. The Spokesman promised additional updates as more information becomes available and I’m sure by the time authorities capture this person, the big-wig media will have moved on to something else. Meanwhile, the folks at Morgan State will be left to pick up the pieces of their shattered sense of security.
Please keep an eye on this story via The Spokesman and think about those kids on that campus. They need to know we are watching and that we care.
The Filak Furlough Tour posts will continue next week.
Vince (a.k.a The Doctor of Paper)
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this called the paper “The Spectator” for reasons past my understanding. I think I had a brain glitch. Thanks to the folks at The Spokesman for bring it to my attention. You deserved better from me on this. Keep doing great work. –VFF