There was a spectacular shooting incident in Pennsylvania this week. A disgruntled man walked up to a council meeting in Ross Township and opened fire. Two died at the scene, one more victim died later at the hospital and two more were wounded.
When authorities arrested the suspect, the suspect reportedly told them: “I wish I killed more of them!”
It’s a hell of a story. But when you arrived at the bottom of that story by the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, what kind of ad did you find?
It’s been fixed now, of course. Thanks to my anonymous tipster for the screencap.
It’d be easy to blame this on contextual algorithms that place ads on some web sites. Like, for example, this one the Hartford Courant had on its web site even four hours after the Newtown shootings in Connecticut last winter.
But I’m sure you remember three similar instances that affected print presentations.
The most spectacular happened in my former newspaper, the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. Dominating the jump page covering the shootings was a giant ad for a local joint pushing Smith & Wesson for Christmas.
The editor of the paper later issued an apology.
The Allentown Morning Call featured a huge gun ad on the front page of its inside news section the next day.
And a month later, the Advocate of Samford, Conn., ran a story about kids returning to school after the tragedy. What was the big ad on the jump page? You guessed it.
Common sense, people. Get some.
(By the way, a young reporter for the Pocono Record didn’t just witness the Pennsylvania shootings, he was forced to crawl out of the carnage. His first-person account is a must-read.)