In response to USA Today's feature on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, published as the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack approaches, survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg called on media outlets to "stop making mass shooters famous" by including coverage and commentary on them in their reporting on shootings.
"The real people in these shootings that should be remembered after shootings are people like Chris Hixon and Aaron Feis and others," said Hogg, naming two teachers who were killed in the shooting. "The heroes in these situations, and the victims like Joaquin Oliver and others at my school...Those are the people whose stories should be remembered."
USA Today's story, published Sunday, included a section with a photo and biographical details about the shooter who killed 17 people and injured 17 more on Valentine's Day last year.
"The shooter at my high school went out and said before the shooting on his phone and recorded himself saying, 'I'm going to be famous,'" Hogg said. "We need to make sure media companies are doing all they can to help stop gun violence...We have to come together and make sure these people are no longer famous."
Let's stop making mass shooters famous https://t.co/f6KxNlKMdF
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) February 11, 2019
Hogg's #NoNotoriety campaign calls on news outlets to leave photos, names, and biographical information about shooters out of coverage, calling the issue "a matter of public safety."
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"The quest for notoriety and infamy is a well known motivating factor in rampage mass killings and violent copycat crimes," reads the campaign's mission statement. "In an effort to reduce future tragedies, we challenge the media—calling for responsible media coverage for the sake of public safety when reporting on individuals who commit or attempt acts of rampage mass violence, thereby depriving violent like minded-individuals the media celebrity and media spotlight they so crave."
Even before the Parkland shooting and the #NoNotoriety campaign, criminologists advised journalists to avoid giving shooters attention in their coverage.
Nearly 150 crime experts and sociologists signed a letter in 2017, just after the Las Vegas shooting, asking the media to stop publishing the names and photos of attackers, citing a number of reasons.
"Some of us believe that by denying mass shooters fame, we would deter some future fame-seekers from attacking," the experts wrote. "Some of us believe that by no longer creating de facto celebrities out of killers, we would reduce contagion and copycat effects. Some of us believe that by no longer rewarding the deadliest offenders with the most personal attention, we would reduce the competition among them to maximize victim fatalities."
In response to Hogg's video, the independent news outlet Grit Post tweeted that its editorial team decided after the Parkland shooting to never again publish the names or photos of mass shooters.
Our editorial team made a conscious decision after Parkland to institute a policy of not publishing the names and/or likenesses of mass shooters and domestic terrorists. Thanks for calling on other media outlets to do the same.
— Grit Post (@grit_post) February 11, 2019