Blogs, Cell Phones Provide Coverage of Virginia Tech Shootings

Information Week reports that blogs and cell phones helped provide some of the earliest coverage of the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech this morning. A New York Times article calls the horrific incident the "deadliest shooting rampage in American history." 33 students were killed and at least 15 students were injured. Blog posts to, the website of the publisher of Virginia Tech's campus newspaper, began at 9:47.
With their Web server down, contributors to the campus newspaper the Collegiate Times filed blog entries on their parent company's Web site beginning at 9:47 a.m. as they attempted to confirm information about two Monday morning university shootings, which left at least 22 people dead and many more injured. ABC reported 29 dead by Monday afternoon.

According to the student newspaper's blog, 20 students died in Norris Hall, a 72,375-square-foot building that houses the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics. The department focuses on materials, material systems, biomechanics, and computational methods, among other subjects.

Students and faculty communicated with each other during the crisis through instant messaging and e-mail. A student captured the sound of several gunshots on campus.

By the afternoon, the university had posted a podcast of statements from its president, Charles Steger. He said police were investigating the first shooting when they received reports of a second shooting. He said the school was shocked and horrified by a tragedy of "monumental proportions." He also said he felt a great personal loss.
A post on icantread01's livejournal account called "Madness on Campus" also helped capture the tramatic events. Icantread01 blogged about his friend Kate who helped block the shooter from re-entering a classroom by barricating the door. Kate was also shot in the hand. Several of the comments left on the icantread01 post are requests from the media for interviews. has a roundup of blog coverage that included the icantread01 post as well as this post from Jennie Tal whose friend was possibly shot in the leg.

Wired's Threat Level blog has a roundup of blog and cell phone accounts. Boing Boing also has a roundup of first-person coverage that includes the DC Metblogs open thread and Flickr photos of police cars on the scene. The Roanoke Times has a blog-style article that covers the shootings in reverse chronological order. Cynical-C Blog also has a good roundup of blog and cell phone accounts.

Posted on April 16, 2007

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