The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) offer condolences to those impacted by Sunday’s shooting in Orlando and implore reporters to avoid erroneous denotations while covering the aftermath.
“It’s important journalists do more than recognize this as a mass shooting, but also the overwhelming impact on the LGBTQ Latino community not just in Orlando, but the country,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “Journalists must also put the shooting into proper context with history.”
Sunday’s shooting has, on several occasions, been referred to as “the worst mass shooting in American history,” which negates several other incidents in U.S. history, many involving minority victims. For example, more than 100 black people were killed in the East St. Louis Massacre in 1917. More than 100 black people were gunned down during a mass shooting in Colfax, La., in 1873.
Suggestions for future coverage include avoiding superlatives altogether, as comparing Sunday’s tragedy to other incidents in history does it no justice. If the decision is made to add a superlative, Sunday’s shooting would count as the deadliest shooting in recent or modern history.
“The loss of life is incomprehensible and the need for journalists to get the story right is vital. That should include varying perspectives in coverage, including how the tragedy has had an impact on the Latino community,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “NABJ extends its heartfelt sympathies to the NAHJ familia following the loss of one of their dear members, Jonathan Camuy.”