Media and Society Exam (June 2007)

Gina Schreuder


Broadcasting a killer: The Virginia Tech shooting and the effects of mass communication.
When the rampant killer responsible for the shootings at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, Cho Seung-Hui, sent a package containing about 1800 words of text, several Quicktime home videos and 43 photos to the news-network giant NBC on the day of the shooting, 16 April 2007, a debate was immediately sparked in the global media about whether it should have been aired or not.
NBC coined the term “multimedia manifesto” to describe Cho’s riveting and macabre ranting on film, which was immediately shown to millions around the globe. The network aired the footage, promting TIME magazine to muse that the “technology for recording horror has advanced, even if the technology for inflicting it has not...Cho’s final testament was like a deranged MySpace parody” (Poniewozik, 2007). The package shows Cho brandishing hammers? and guns in defiant poses and the text reveals much about the young killer’s state of mind. NBC president

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