Gary Stoller, USA Today
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Local government officials are urging the news media
to stay away Saturday, the first anniversary of the Dec. 14 shootings
that killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary
"The community is choosing to remember and honor those who
lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy in ways that are quiet,
personal and respectful - centered on themes of kindness, love and
service to others," Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a written
Llodra said the town will not be hosting any memorial events and
requested that the public and the press allow Newtown residents "the
time to be alone and quiet with time for personal and communal
USA TODAY Editor-in-Chief David Callaway said the
news organization will not report on the anniversary from Newtown on
Saturday. "We'll respect the wishes of the people of Newtown," he
Some other media organizations, including CNN, have
announced that they also will not be in Newtown to cover the anniversary
of the tragedy.
"While CNN plans to cover the one-year
anniversary across our networks and platforms, we are respecting the
wishes of the families, and we are not reporting from Newtown on
Saturday," CNN spokeswoman Bridget Leininger said.
professor of journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of
Journalism, says each media outlet has to make up its own mind whether
to be in Newtown Saturday to report the tragic anniversary. Journalists,
he says, should ask themselves whether being in Newtown is essential to
reporting their stories. "If the answer is no, don't go there," Duff
Media outlets that decide to go to Newtown should consider the
footprint they will make, he says. They should be respectful and, for
example, "not bring in three live broadcast trucks when a small crew can
cover any news that may happen."
Llodra said she is encouraging
every Newtown resident to use the days leading up to the anniversary "as
a time to formally commit to acts of service and kindness to honor
those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook."
Before killing 26
people at the school, gunman Adam Lanza shot to death his mother, Nancy
Lanza, at their Sandy Hook home on the morning of Dec. 14. The gunman
later committed suicide at the school.
Newtown churches and other houses of worship will hold special services Saturday to reflect on and honor those who were killed.
said she and other Newtown officials met with the local print media
last week and the national TV media Monday and will meet with USA TODAY
and other national media Tuesday. She said the same message is being
provided at each meeting: The public and the media should stay away from
Newtown on Saturday.
"There is nothing new in the town's position
to respectfully request the media to not come to Newtown to cover the
first anniversary," Llodra told USA TODAY.
At a press conference Monday, 14 families of children and educators
killed at Sandy Hook school said they plan to light a candle this
weekend in memory of their loved ones.
In a joint statement, the
families said the tragedy forever changed their lives, and they thanked
the world for its outpouring of support. The families said they have
established a new website, MySandyHookFamily.org, for all 26 families
who lost a relative in the shootings at the school.
"In the midst
of our grief, we have come to realize that we want our loved ones to be
remembered for the lives they lived and how they touched our hearts,"
the website says. "We have been uplifted by the support of so many
people, and we would like to keep that spirit of unity and love alive in
all we do to remember those we so dearly miss."
The site asks the
public to understand that each family is unique in its own experiences
following the tragedy and has its own voice and perspective. "By
creating this website, we hope to offer an opportunity to communicate
with our families and honor our loved ones, while at the same time
respecting each family's individual journey and unique experiences," it