Crises Demand More Nuanced Reporting

Craig Stephen Hicks’ shooting of three Muslim students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last Tuesday placed him on the long list of shootings perpetrated by white males in the last decade.

Hicks was known as a troublemaker that obsessed over parking and was feared by his neighbors. While police have not yet established why he allegedly committed such a horrific crime, the media portrayed the incident as if the catalyst was “a parking dispute,” but many others more speculate that Hicks was motivated by a hatred for Islam, suggesting that these murders were actually a hate crime.

As aspiring journalists, it is troubling that major media outlets were not more sensitive to the nuances of this incident and did not speculate more thoughtfully about the possibility that this was indeed a hate crime. It is also troubling that little commentary was made about how easily it was for Hicks to attain a gun, despite known concerns about his mental condition.
Both of these issues are indicative of privilege and lack of sensitivity about the societal injustices that result. Journalism is a field predominantly made up of white, middle-class males. It is important as journalists that we consistently challenge our assumptions and examine the intersectionalities that prevent us from questioning incidents from a more thoughtful, sensitive and meaningful angle.

Questions such as why gun control laws are not stricter, or why there is such a long list of white males that engage in shootings, or why hate crimes are not more thoroughly reported are just a few that come to mind.

Melissa Lin
News Editor