Las Vegas coverage evolves by hour


Over the past week, the world has reacted to the gruesome Las Vegas Massacre, cited as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. In its wake, there has also been intense scrutiny into the man behind the attack, Stephen Paddock, and his potential motives.

News coverage of the event has been very high, as expected due to the magnitude of the attacks and the public interest in seeing the story develop. A renewed battle for gun control has also been sparked, with social media biting on both sides of the controversial issue.

In following the story for several days, two things have stood out to me: how the information has changed so rapidly, and each news organization has approached putting the story together in a unique way.

First, there were two people dead. Then ten. Then 20, 30, 40. The number was different with each new article until the final toll was reached, with hundreds more injured. Information about the shooter was unknown, or even if there were more than one.

There were unconfirmed reports that ISIS had taken credit for the attacks. What we saw were news organizations trying to get information out to the public that craved them, without having enough time to properly verify it. In some cases, accurate information was unknown, and could only be speculated.

I also noticed that, while each organization was telling the same basic information, they had different ways of drawing in potential readers. The Washington Post highlighted that “new details have emerged,” while The New York Times chose to focus on the “cryptic clues” and the “vexing and terrifying mystery” behind Paddock’s motivation for the massacre.

Either way, the methods of differentiation made each story slightly different than the previous, ensuring that readers had to check out all of them to understand fully.