It’s a somber day in Blacksburg, Virginia, and on college campuses across America. So don’t expect the usual levity at ToughSledding.
I taught two classes at Kent State today — one before learning of the shootings at Va. Tech, the other afterward. In that second class, PR Case Studies, we speculated on the impact this horrible tragedy might have. And we tried to imagine the grief of those left to mourn the dead.
Class ended early, and my students walked out of Taylor Hall onto the May 4th Memorial site. Here at Kent State, we know a little about campus tragedies. We lost 4. Tech lost 33.
While my journalism colleagues were riveted to their TV sets, I checked Google to see what role the social media are playing in covering this event. I’m offering what I found so far. I’ll add to it as I learn more.
Robin Hamman is tracking a number of student bloggers at Va. Tech who posted about their experiences. Some scary stuff.
Jeff Jarvis reports (at 3 p.m.) that more than 900,000 people had viewed a video shot by a student on the scene. It’s chilling to hear the gunshots, horrifying to think about the actual scene. Citizen journalists had it first, but that’s becoming the norm.
Tech’s student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, is operating from an auxiliary server. The reports read much like a blog, posted by the minute.
The Va. Tech website shows an institution prepared for crisis, and we expect that in today’s world. But it’s a sad reminder for PR pros that nothing — and I mean nothing — can be left off our list of worst-case-scenario planning.
I’m not a religious man, but I’m gonna say a prayer for these folks tonight. I hope you’ll join me.
Update, 9:10 p.m.
From Daniela Capistrano, links to MTV and YouTube, each with more content posted by bloggers and citizen journalists
Bryce’s Journal tracks the day. Can’t believe this one didn’t pop up earlier on my search.