The Irish media has been saturated with images and reports coming from the tragic and horrific events in Berkeley, California, which cost six students their lives. But what is only adding a tonne of salt to a wide open wound, is some of the reporting both here and abroad.
On the front page of TWO national pages, the reader is greeted with images of the students on body bags. These papers are stocked in the airport the parents of those involved will be using to get to San Francisco- I know they will. I work there. No parent needs to go through the horror of burying their child, but they definitely do not need to be bombarded with images like this as they go to bring home their child.
To add to this, internationally renowned title The New York Times has used the incident to bring back painful memories of J1 trips from days gone by. Moments of drunken destruction are brought back, shaming our nation at the time we need compassion the most. Kicking us when we are already down.
But the work-visa program that allowed for the exchanges has in recent years become not just a source of aspiration, but also a source of embarrassment for Ireland, marked by a series of high-profile episodes involving drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments in places like San Francisco and Santa Barbara.
I am a journalist myself. It’s what I did my undergrad in, and it will be the subject of my masters too. And this goes against any ethical journalism reporting, something I learned of in my second undergrad year.
During the Charlie Hedbo incidents, we as a profession came together and promised to fight for integrity. So why have we laid down our swords and given in?
The horrible and tragic incident in Berkeley has indeed cast a black pall over the programme. But the way we are reporting the story is fastening the ties.