“What’s in a Name: How to Cover Mass Murder” Panel set for Oct. 22 at Los Angeles Press Club

The Society of Professional Journalists Greater Los Angeles Pro Chapter and the Los Angeles Press Club will co-host an upcoming panel discussion on how the media can better cover mass murder events like terrorist and shooter attacks.

Media ethicists, survivor advocates and some journalists have begun pushing back against excessive attention on the perpetrators at the expense of the victims—recognizing that too much media coverage can inspire prospective killers to try and “rack up a higher score” in future attacks.

In response, some police agencies and news organizations are adopting policies to minimize or even omit names and other information about the perpetrators. Others defend current practice based on the public’s right to know, and to help understand the attackers’ motives and potentially deter future assaults.

WHAT: SPJ/LA and LAPC will present the program, “What’s In A Name: How To Cover Mass Murder”

WHO: The panel will include:

Brooke Binkowski is an award-winning journalist who began as a broadcast reporter, working for CNN, KNX and KPCC before expanding to photography and print. She then dove into anti-disinformation work in 2015 as managing editor for the fact-checking website Snopes.com, guiding it through the 2016 presidential campaign and election and beyond. She is now managing editor at debunking site TruthOrFiction.com.


Anita Busch is the media consultant for the No Notoriety campaign, an effort to protect the public and discourage copycat crimes by minimizing media attention on shooters and terrorists. In recent years, Busch has been a dedicated victims’ advocate; her cousin was one of the 12 people killed in the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado that also left 70 injured. A reporter and editor covering the entertainment industry for more than 30 years, as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times she was illegally wiretapped and her life threatened by private detective Anthony Pellicano, who went on to serve time in prison.

Kelli Sager is a First Amendment attorney who for more than 30 years has represented media and entertainment companies and individual journalists, including broadcasters, cable companies, film producers and distributors, newspapers and magazines, authors, and Web publishers. Honored as one of the top lawyers in her field, she is a partner in Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s Los Angeles office.

Evan Wagner has been a police officer with more than a decade of law enforcement experience. He has also been a public relations strategist and practitioner for nearly 20 years for the private sector, government entities, as well as political candidates and leaders.





Joel Bellman, a digital columnist and former political communications aide and print and award-winning broadcast journalist in Los Angeles for 35 years, will moderate.

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Los Angeles Press Club
6500 Sunset Blvd. (cross street: Hudson Avenue)
Hollywood, CA 90028

PARKING: Available at 6464 Sunset Blvd., next door to the venue ($10) and on the street

COST: Free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP: Please send to info@lapressclub.org and put “how to cover mass murder” in the subject line.

CONTACT: Joel Bellman

# # #

Comments are closed.