For media covering Aurora shooting, the show must go on

People love action movies. The violence, the suspense, the death. The flawed yet endearing hero or heroine and his or her uncompromising evil adversary. It gets their adrenaline pumping and their heartbeats racing like few other things can, from the opening lines to the all-but-inevitable triumphant end. They’re exciting and thrilling, just like they’re intended to be.

But when these elements are translated off-screen, this story goes by a different name: tragedy. Such was the case at the shooting in Aurora, Colo., this past week at the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” for the victims and their families and friends, as well as the rest of the nation.

Often, when public massacres occur, such as the Columbine massacre in 1999 and movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., the media are encouraged, sometimes begged, by psychiatrists and others not to lavish attention on the event. No extended coverage. No breaking news. No borderline obsessive attention paid to the killer(s) or even the victims. The idea behind this is that doing so would encourage others to attempt similar atrocities or even copycat shootings, such as those that followed the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech shootings.

From a practical standpoint, I understand this completely. It would be in the interest of the general public to tone down coverage so that more events like it do not happen in the near future.

However, we, the media, believe we have a duty to you, the public, to keep you informed and up-to-date on important developments in your country and your world. That is what we do and what we have done since the creation of newspapers and modern news media. And it will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Asking us to do any different would be asking us not to do our duty to you. To not report on the victims would be to dishonor them as well as those they’ve left behind.

So we continue to do what we do, potentially perpetuating a vicious cycle that is not our fault but possibly, sometimes, an unintended consequence of what we do. But we do it because we believe in it.

Melissa is a junior in LAS.