The Times’ approach to mass shootings | The Supreme Court and data journalism | Online engagement with vaccine misinformation

The Times’ approach to mass shootings: In a sad sign of the era, the Times has developed a protocol for addressing mass shootings. In the wake of the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, Sarah Bahr of the New York Times interviews assistant managing editor Marc Lacey about when to identify the suspect and the victims, what to publish and what to omit, and how to sensitively approach such tragedies. They argue that it’s important to get the information out without glorifying the act of violence in any way. For instance, the news should avoid publishing the manifestos written by the shooter or any image of him with weapons. Mass shootings shouldn’t be covered as a singular event, but as “part of an American phenomenon that occurs with regularity,” says Lacey. 

The Supreme Court and data journalism: A pending Supreme Court decision regarding the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act might have press freedom implications for data journalists, says CPJ research associate Katherine Jacobsen. She interviews Nabiha Syed, president and legal counsel of the Markup, about the potential outcome of the case. The case addresses “web scraping,” a practice used by data journalists that falls into a legally gray area when it comes to the CFAA. Web scraping is used to collect data about ongoing events like COVID-19, discriminatory pricing on Amazon or Facebook misinformation, says Syed, and the ambiguity of the law deters journalists without significant legal resources from this form of data collection.  The ideal outcome for data journalists is that the wording of the law is clarified so that it isn’t as broad as it is now, says Syed. 

Online engagement with vaccine misinformation: Vaccine misinformation is circulating rapidly online, gaining a lot of attention on social media platforms, says Miles Parks of NPR. The articles with bad info are hard to regulate since they are based on cherry-picked facts and exploitation of gray areas, rather than blatant falsities. There is no scientific correlation between the COVID-19 vaccine and death, but links drawn between the two without context are popular. For example, statistics like “23 people died in a nursing home after taking the Pfizer vaccine” are jarring because of the causal implications that they have, no matter how false they may be, says Parks. 

Live Q&A with Marty Baron, former executive editor of The Washington Post on April 1. Fundraiser for student scholarships: Register now

From exposing the priest sexual abuse scandal in Boston to confronting Donald Trump’s attacks on the media to addressing the country’s racial reckoning, Marty Baron has stood at the center of the journalistic storm. Now he talks candidly about his time as editor of the Washington Post and Boston Globe, what it was like to be attacked as an “enemy of the people” and cover Trump, and what he sees for the future of journalism—and the country. 

Under his leadership, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald won a total of 17 Pulitzer Prizes. Baron was also featured in the Oscar-winning movie SPOTLIGHT. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of America’s greatest journalists and defenders of democracy and a free press. Baron will be interviewed by Jonathan Kaufman, Director of the Northeastern University School of Journalism.

Celebrate and support the School of Journalism with this groundbreaking, Northeastern-exclusive event! Tickets are $25 ($20 of which represents a tax-deductible donation to the School of Journalism Fund). Event proceeds will go towards scholarship and stipends that directly benefit Journalism students. All gifts will be included in Giving Day totals. Register today.


Event Registration$25 per ticket

Students free

$20 of your event fee is a tax-deductible donation to the School of Journalism Fund


6 – 6:10 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks

6:10–6:45 p.m.: Interview between Chair Kaufman & Marty Baron

6:45 – 7p.m.: Audience Q&A


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