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The media's case for entering Newtown while it mourns shooting anniversary

This undated photo circulated by law enforcement and provided by NBC News, shows Adam Lanza. Authorities say Lanza killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before taking his own life, on Friday. (AP Photo/NBC News)

After government officials in Newtown, Conn., publicly requested that the national news media stay away from the city as it mourns the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, some outlets agreed to hold back.

Hilary Krieger, an editor at the Washington Post, aruges in a column Friday that not having the media present could do more harm than good:

The desire of town residents for privacy is understandable, and journalists have a responsibility to be sensitive in their reporting, a sensitivity they have perhaps not always shown adequately in covering tragedies. ...

But to completely shut out the media goes too far. It means that those who do want to talk can’t, denying that form of catharsis to those who want it. It means that the event will be memorialized without the stories that can come only from being present at that moment, some of which would undoubtedly showcase hope, resilience and new undertakings. ...

This is not some private family scandal; this shooting was and is a major news story. Its implications for gun policy, mental health treatment, trauma care and more are still reverberating. The broader public is entitled to know what is happening in Newtown at this juncture. This story is not just Newtown’s but the whole country’s.

Presumably the Post will be in Newtown for the anniversary, which is Saturday (spokespeople for the paper did not return request for comment about this last week). The Associated Press and CBS also plan to be there.

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