by Joe Garofoli, Staff Writer - San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/04/20/MNGJVPCGI51.DTL
In an April 20, 2007 article on the San Francisco Chronicle website, staff writer Joe Garofoli wrote about how the new media culture challenged the limits of journalism ethics in coverage of the massacre at Virginia Tech.
The Virginia Tech shooting is the first major U.S. news story in which traditional media and new-media technologies became visibly interdependent. Yet how that combination of old and new enabled the world to see the final ramblings of mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui raises an uncomfortable question: When
everybody can publish in the world of new media, what will the world see next? As new-media expert Jeff Jarvis wrote on his BuzzMachine.com blog Thursday, "There is no control point anymore. When anyone and everyone -- witnesses, criminals, victims, commentators, officials and journalists -- can publish and broadcast as events happen, there is no longer any guarantee that news and society itself can be filtered, packaged, edited, sanitized, polished, secured." NBC News anchor Brian Williams called the photos, videos and text Cho mailed directly to his network a "multimedia manifesto." The network released
only heavily edited parts of Cho's submission, enough so it could convey "the mind-set of the troubled gunman," Williams said. Now, some media analysts are wondering what the next multimedia manifesto will contain. Will somebody upload a live hostage situation? And given the "let-the-masses-decide" ethos of this new-media landscape, some want NBC to release everything Cho sent. The questions and concerns about the boundaries of openness are being raised not just by traditional media fuddy-duddies but by leaders of new media, those who often praise the virtues of a "democratized" media world in which anyone can publish his own writing, video or photos.