Campus newspapers work through tragedy

On Feb. 15, a gunman opened fire at Northern Illinois University and killed six students including himself — but somewhere in this mess, the university’s students made a newspaper.

The shooting was reported at 3:06 p.m., and by 3:25 p.m., reporters and cameramen from the university’s newspaper, The Northern Star, were on the scene. The reporters persevered despite the fact that one of the casualties was one of their own: a sophomore who had worked at the Star as a sales representative.

The Star reporters had never experienced such tragedy, yet were able to follow in the footsteps of The Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech and its extensive coverage of last April’s tragedy. The Times staff had not only been first on scene but had spent the week after the shooting in their office, continuing to print daily issues while many students went home.

We commend The Collegiate Times and The Northern Star for so efficiently covering events that many students had trouble dealing with emotionally, never mind investigating the details to recount to the campus and the general public. In fact, such large, non-student newspaper sources as the Associated Press and CNN came to the Star for photographs of the event on its campus. The staffs of the Star and the Times handled their respective campuses’ tragic situations maturely, and represent college media sources well.