|Alison Parker and Adam Ward of WDBJ |
were killed this morning during a live broadcast.
Two local news reporters in Roanoke, Va., were killed tragically early this morning when a former coworker at WDBJ shot them on live TV. Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were in the field on a live broadcast at about 6:45 a.m. when suspect Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, opened fire.
It’s tragic, terrifying and heartbreaking. It not only raises questions, once again, about gun control, but also about the safety of news crews. In the video (which, trust me, I don’t recommend you watch), Parker and Ward are seen alone during their interview with a third victim, who survived the shooting. Ward’s back is turned and Parker is fully focused on conducting her interview. Neither seemed to noticed the suspect approaching.
The fact that Parker and Ward were the only two reporters on the scene is not a rare situation. This is often the case, especially as stations have cut back on headcount over the last several years. So how will news outlets respond to ensure the safety of their reporters? Following Columbine, my school district implemented mock lockdowns to train teachers and students what to do in the event of a shooter on campus. After Virginia Tech, my university implemented an emergency text message system. And after the Boston Marathon bombing, security has been tightened at every race I've run since.
Only time will tell if today's events will have a lasting impact on safety protocols for TV stations. I hope they do.