The Thunderstorm of Fear: On Breaking News and the Dallas Shooting

Julie’s text came like a smoke signal in a windstorm. My friend was safe but scared. As a resident of downtown Dallas, her fear and confusion was swept up into the frantic response of the news.

While the media reported on the stages of this incident, Google news catalogued top and recent stories, the first of which I recognized as a radical, blog-based source. Appalled at the idea of hearing some inhumane twist on the tragedy, I closed my computer and resolved to wait until the truth was sorted. In our information age, it is essential to temper our need for breaking news with our responsibility to the truth. But that stance comes from a privilege of place: I was far from the incident and already knew my friend was ok. However, a few weeks before, I had been swept up in the twister of fear.

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