Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Are You Warning People or Scaring Them?



On Sunday, university officials around the region notified students that vague threats had been made online, warning students to be vigilant on campus Monday.

"We continue to interact with local and federal authorities, as well as colleagues at other colleges and universities in the region," wrote Charles Leone, Temple's executive director of Campus Safety. "Law enforcement has received no additional information or any more specifics on the original threat. Should we learn anything specific that would affect the safety of those at Temple, we will let you know as soon as possible."

The news media followed up with reports about the college communities being notified of the information. Some students refused to go to school because of the vague threats.

Did the journalists further scare the public?

Or was this information that needed to be delivered, just in case?

19 comments:

Aiah Alkhars said...

They are warning them, because a threat has been made, and its not a threat that never has been made before, it was the same way another school was threatened. They were obligated to warn students of a potential terrorist attack, so that the students well be careful.

Grace Shallow said...

I would say this is a necessary thing to inform the local community about, especially students of the university. It scared the public because it was a scary thing to think about happening in your school, a safe place that is also many students' home. It was necessary.

Henry Savage said...

This was a very necessary protocol to enact due to how serious the threats from this group were to other Universities.University in Oregon was attacked by this group, then later that week, a shooting at Arizona State University transpired. If we hadn't put those security measures in place and an attack did take place, lawsuits and shame would be cast upon anyone responsible for not protecting the school and the school itself.

Thomas Beck said...

I believe it was a good idea to warn students and faculty about the threat. School shootings are not uncommon, and in this instance, the most important thing is the safety of the Temple community (and the public as a whole). To withhold the information would have been severely unethical, even if it meant sparing the public unnecessary worry. Just because nothing happened does not mean it wasn't a viable threat.

Brooke Williams said...

Possible threats to the safety of the public should always be reported, no matter how vague. There's always a chance that something could actually happen, especially with recent tragedies in schools and college campuses. Even though the journalists did not have any specific information, it would be morally incorrect to keep it from the public.

Jenna Faccenda said...

I think their intention was to warn them, but all it seemed to do was scare the public. There are threats constantly made so why shed light on this particular one? They made it so urgent by using FBI and certain times. It is nice to know they did something about it but they should of been more subtle. They should of stressed more on how the FBI said that there is no concern really.

Anonymous said...

Obviously journalists were not intending on further scaring the public. However, commentary made preceding this event is more scary than the coverage of this event. I remember that maybe a day or two before these threats were made, I saw a news broadcast that said that since June 1st, America has had a mass murder, killing at least four people at one time, every week. Now in saying this I still don't think journalists are trying to scare society, but they are trying to make us aware. I think that this information needed to be covered and presented by knowledgable individuals who know the facts, rather than just word spreading through teenagers. That would really make the situation scary. Journalists are in the clear here.

- Heather Fass

Anonymous said...

The intention was to warn the public. I understand the necessity to inform the public because it directly affects the lives of students/faculty who attend university anywhere near the area. However, I do think the way it was reported on could have been problematic. For instance, during any televised broadcast that talked about the potential threat, the graphic that was shown was typically Temple University. I don't think that was necessary since there was little to no indication that was it was specifically at Temple. Also, the language that was used to describe the threat was frantic. I understand that this occurred immediately after the Oregon shooting. However, it cannot be denied that the coverage of this threat in Philadelphia was highly sensationalized. The public should always be informed of everything that directly affects them; especially when it comes to safety. However, there should be more ethical ways of delivering such news. Little to nothing ever comes from scaring people.


-Taylor Allen

Ashley Paskill said...

They wanted to inform the public. However, they only informed them of the threat and got reactions, not saying what can be done by the public if it were to occur. It seemed to focus only on schools IN Philly, while the threat was made to a university NEAR Philly, scaring those in Philadelphia. I would have liked to see more interviews with officials from local schools that informed students, and the community, about what to do if it were to happen.

Anonymous said...

Adriana Vela

I believe that it was good that they informed the students and the public. Its a scary thing considering that we have had so many shootings and violent threats throughout this year. So of course its going to scare the people. Its better to be safe then sorry. I think they should have announced a more emergency safety precaution on how to be safe for all of our students.

Jesse Atkins said...

Though the ordeal may have been "annoying" by the standards of many, it was a necessary annoyance. The fact of the matter is that the police and the University as a whole needed to get ahead of this. After the horrendous mass-shootings that have occurred throughout the nation, most recently in Oregon, I think most would agree that it is truly better to be safe than sorry--even if some students were pushed to skip class as a result. In the same vein though, it is imperative that the media make sure their updates are backed by actual changes in information, rather than founded on efforts to stir the pot and generate an audience.

Alexis Rogers said...

Although the news of a possible threat to our school was very unnerving, it is necessary for students to be warned. I believe students have the right to be noticed of the possible events in order for them to be extra aware of their surroundings. I do not believe it is right to withhold information that could jeopardize the lives of people. Even though everything was safe on campus, the information allowed people to understand the possibility of something happening rather than being completely oblivious. It was up to people to interpret the information as they choose, resulting in going to school or staying home.

Morgan Kolakowski said...

In my opinion, the warnings that were delivered by the news outlets needed to be delivered due to all of the recent events that have taken place. It did seem that people were overreacting, but if we were not warned or did not take any precautions, something could have happened and we all would have been blamed for not being cautious. I do feel, however, that some journalists took it to an extreme. I saw some tweets that were very direct and fact based but were not true at all. As a journalist, you should broadcast what is happening but it is not our duty to make things seem like they are happening if they are not. If I was a journalist during those times I would feel that it is my duty to state what is happening and clarify what officials are saying to do. It would not be my job to state what people should do because then I would be putting personal opinion into the discussion.

Robert Wurtenberg said...

I think this was absolutely necessary. The people needed to be warned because you always worry if that could happen to you or your University. This is a scary subject and the Universities need to be wanted and notified of what is and what could possibly happen.

Jon Dowding said...

Due to recent events, it is only prudent that the authorities reported about the threat. Personally, I would rather be warned about something that could potentially happen then not know about it at all. The journalists did their job of notifying the public of something that could affect them. The only outlet that sparked fear into the public at large was social media. The night before, I heard tons of rumors about potential threats that were going on that night at schools like St. Joe's and Drexel. Before reading about any of those threats, I was not worried about it at all. These threats, as unreliable as they were, still scared me a little bit. Otherwise, the journalists did what they're supposed to do.

Geneva Heffernan said...

I agree with the majority here that even though the information did scare people, its objective was to inform. In a case such as this where a threat was made, but there were potential steps that people could take as a precaution to avoid a potential tragedy, it is clearly a journalist’s job to relay that information to those who may be affected. The fact that there was a solution to the scare (in the way of heightening security and encouraging people to remain inside at a given time) was a way of easing people’s fears and encouraging rational precautionary measures.

Nina de Vitry said...

I think that the media would be doing the public an injustice by not providing information on the violence threat. Although the information had no substantial leads and in hindsight amounted to nothing, the scare followed similar threats that had horrific repercussion at other colleges in the nation. Violence threats are seeming more and more common, and although they often are empty threats, it is still the duty of journalists to inform the public about them because it allows citizens to take the information and decide for themselves what to do with it. The journalists in this situation did not say "It is unsafe to go to school on this particular day," but they did present the facts that alluded to danger and this gave students and staff the tools they needed to make decisions about their personal safety.

Maggie Labutis said...

By informing the public as to what is happening in the world around them, journalists did their jobs. It definitely helped me feel informed. After my parents learned this information they refused to let my brother and I attend classes this day. I think certain people tend to over-react to information like this, but that does not mean this information shouldn't be reported on. Overall, I think journalists made the right decision in notifying students of a public threat that had been made against us.

James Dougherty said...

I feel that it is important to relay this information to the public. They have a right to know about their safety whether it is scaring them or not. It is important for them to know what is going on around, it is not good to keep people out of the loop. This information should be reported and should be deciphered by the public on an individual level. If someone were to be frightened by this information it is on them and not the media for reporting it.