|WKYC Anchor Russ Mitchell on location in Chardon|
One of the hardest stories for journalists to cover is the senseless killing of innocent children, especially in the one place they should feel safest - at school.
Over the past 72 hours, everyone at WKYC has been deeply involved in the tragedy at Chardon High School. From the reporters in the field, to producers making sense of it all, to the production crew airing our coverage, you can't help but feel a personal connection to the event.
After all, Chardon is a small, rural town where tragedies like the deaths of 3 students and the injury of 2 others is not supposed to lead the national news broadcast. Like Columbine, it's hard to understand how the shooter was driven to committ such an act.
We feel it important to bring you the stories of many of those involved as we can. Some families don't wish to speak to the media and we respect that. But, many anothers have wanted to tell their stories as a way to help the community heal, in addition to the prayer vigils and memorial services.
One of the bright outcomes of this story is the fact that local media still has a powerful presence in bringing the story home to you. Obviously the story is not about us, but rather how the use of broadcast media, social media and new technology combine to help people deal with such an event and provide instant communication of the events in real-time.
We have heard from people on our Facebook and Twitter pages about how much they appreciated us providing wall to wall coverage on Monday and our expanded coverage on Tuesday. As one viewer, Jes Zelasko, posted on our wall "God bless you all. It must be hard to report all that you are. Take care of yourselfs too as you take care of all of us."
Yes, it is hard. All of us have families and can relate to the pain and agony that so many families are going through right now. Life in Chardon will never be the same, but the community will heal. We know Chardon is strong in spirit, as we have seen over the past 3 days.
The Chardon High School Shootings is an important story we must cover to its legal conclusion. But more importantly, we hope some of the stories we share with viewers can help to prevent this sad story from being repeated.