Reporting mass random shootings: The copycat effect?
Abramis Academic Publishing
Place of Publication
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts
This paper argues that a new understanding of the mass random shooting crime is urgently required. The guidelines for journalists relating to the reporting of suicide have shown the value of understanding the effects of certain types of news coverage on susceptible minds. The mass random shooting crime is excluded from such guidelines because there is no clear evidence for a copycat effect. This paper, however, demonstrates that while the mass random shooting is not generated from the copycat effect, it might nonetheless be impacted by coverage of other such crimes. If that is the case, then there is an argument for a set of reporting guidelines. A fresh examination and interpretation of an old phenomenon, amok, highlights the possible implications of the framing choices made in the news coverage of a mass shooting.