Virginia Tech Shooting. Eyewitness testimonies and footage dominate news
April 17th, 2007

On CNN, the earliest on-scene pictures of the Virginia Tech shooting and words were provided by Jamal Albarghouti, a Virginia Tech graduate student from the West Bank. His cell phone pictures of police charging Norris Hall as shots rang out were broadcast and streamed over and over throughout the day. The Baltimore Sun reports.

“By dinnertime, CNN was featuring Albarghouti standing on campus, microphone in hand, reporting from the scene as he talked with anchorman Wolf Blitzer, who was in the cable channel’s Washington newsroom.

“Let’s face it, right now, his material is still the best of the day in terms of capturing on video what took place there,” Nancy Lane, CNN’s vice president of domestic news, said last night.

“On this story, the Internet and digital technology have been a driving force like never before,” said Dan Abrams, general manger of MSNBC.

“We’re using Webcams, we’re soliciting any video that viewers have, we’re monitoring the online communities of MySpace and Facebook to bring viewers as much information as we can from as many places.”

Indeed one of the richest sources of information for the mainstream media became online social networking sites. “There are these communities developing on those sites with hundreds and hundreds of people – many of them students, some of whom were there at the shooting,” Abrams said.

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