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Reporting On Parkland From The Homefront

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Lorie Shaull
/
Wikimedia
Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws. The demonstration was organized by Teens For Gun Reform in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The name Parkland — like so many other American cities — has become synonymous with a mass shooting. But in many ways, the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland is different from those that came before it. 

It was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, killing 17 students and injuring an additional 17. While students and families were in shock, they were also angry, they were activated, and they took action. Almost immediately after the shooting, survivors began advocating for gun control. Local reporting on the event continued long after the national news networks had left Broward County. And the work of these activists and journalists led to real change.

This year, journalists at the South Florida Sun Sentinel were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Brittany Wallman and Randy Roguski were both members of that team. Wallman is an investigative reporter and Roguski is the metro editor for the paper.

They were in Milwaukee for Marquette University’s annual Burleigh Media Ethics lecture, and they described what it's like to cover this kind of catastrophic event so close to home. 

"There were media from all over the world just streaming into town to cover this thing," says Roguski. 

Wallman agrees, "Yeah, it was very sad to cover. I mean, you know, as journalists we’re supposed to be detached and neutral, but we were just immersed in so much sadness, and the community’s grief."

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.