TV news producers were forced into crisis-coverage mode Friday to respond to the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas that left at least 10 people dead, most of them students.
News resources at the major networks were stretched thin on Friday with so many producers, crew members and on-air correspondents already in Britain preparing for Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. Santa Fe High School in the city that lies about 35 miles southeast of Houston is far from the pomp and pageantry of Windsor Castle.
But the increase in the number of mass shootings has resulted in a kind of template for covering such a horrifying tragedy. Interviews with shaken students and grieving parents, a rush to find biographical details about the suspected shooter and discussions with angry activists railing about the lack of curbs on the availability of guns and ammunition have become a chilling staple of TV.
“Today’s massacre in Texas is just the latest in an all too familiar reality in this country,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said on-air Friday afternoon. He ran down a list of nine school shootings with at least one casualty that have occurred just since January.
CNN’s interview with an unidentified female Santa Fe High School student went viral as she bowed her head and said flatly that she wasn’t surprised when the school went into lockdown mode because of the active shooter.
“It’s been happening everywhere,” the student said, her voice shaking. “I always kind of felt eventually it would happen here too.”
ABC News was among the networks that broke into regular daytime programming around 11:25 a.m. ET on Friday as the first reports of a mass shooting emerged.
“CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor was set to anchor tonight’s telecast from Santa Fe High School. And Fox News will have correspondents Casey Stegall and Doug McKelway on the ground in Texas.