Huge story, but no news

Unsurprisingly, news of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history led the three local English newscasts this evening. And, also unsurprisingly, the coverage was disappointing.

CTV had the most coverage of the event, a full 10 minutes of its newscast, and also scored a local angle by finding a Virginia Tech student from Quebec. Their main story was repackaged from ABC News, as was a list of former school shootings (that should give an idea of what little there is to report here) which featured Montreal rather prominently (Polytechnique, Fabrikant and Dawson).

CBC (whose anchor desk is being manned by the eye-pleasing former CBC Radio Noon host Nancy Wood) had its own report from Neil MacDonald in Washington, which added the Bush Administration’s predictable reassurance that they believe in the right to bear arms.

Global’s report was so short I didn’t notice where it came from.

All three networks included streeters from young people on downtown streets. What this showed me: young people in Montreal think school shootings are bad. Wow. Thank you for informing me. Among the eye-opening quotes: “If you’re not safe at school where can you be?”

And, of course, all three had a Dawson angle. There was a shooting at Dawson, and that guy killed himself afterward too. So there must be some connection to report, right? Though the interviews with students were hardly enlightening, they did include some discussion with shooting victims about the political implications of gun laws.

So what do the three main newscasts follow this huge story with? Well, the weather of course. Apparently it’s windy outside, and that’s slowing down motorists. That in turn was followed by human interest stories and other slow-news-day stories. CBC’s Marianna Simeone had an editorial piece saying cellphones should be banned while driving (how much you want to bet she’s answered at least one cellphone call while driving this week?).

To CTV’s credit, they later came back to the Virginia shootings with more ABC coverage and an interview with anyone they could find to call himself an expert and pull uninformed hypotheticals out of his ass a local psychologist.

We’ll see how the papers handle it tomorrow. Judging from Canada.com’s special page on the subject (filled with the Canadian Press coverage they should be weaning themselves off of as they prepare to dump the wire service), it should be good.

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