Monday, April 27, 2009

Awful Events in Athens

The tragedy in Athens this weekend in which a UGA professor shot to death his wife and two other people shows just how much people turn to the news media when it matters. The local newspaper's web site was nearly impossible to reach because of all the traffic. People were picking up bits and pieces of news in any way they could: Internet, friends, smart phones, UGA's own emergency call system.

And on this major news day, the AJC -- my local metro paper -- ironically no longer delivered to Athens.

The shootings happened on Saturday and on Sunday the AJC was no longer being delivered to driveways across Clarke County, a huge void in finding out new information. Yes, you could go to the Net, but not everyone uses the Net. Ironic indeed that the day the AJC chose to stop delivery was on such a major news event.

A lot of the Grady family were either at the shooting, near the shooting when it happened, or know the people involved (Athens is not that big a town). Very sad this weekend, no doubt this week, and for a long time to come, especially for the kids who lost their mother and essentially lost their father as he continues to evade capture.

From a media perspective, this proves the vital nature of journalists, something people tend to forget until it really matters (not unlike cops, firefighters, and all the rest). It sucks that it takes an event like this to remind us that we need these people out there keeping an eye on the world and telling us what's happening.

For a compelling take from a personal and journalistic level, read colleague Michael Castengera's blog.

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