Asked Not to Cover Newtown, Reporters Cover Reporters Not Covering Newtown (Update)

Honoring a town’s wishes, sort of

The photo above should answer any questions about whether news media honored Newtown, Conn.’s request that they stay out of town on the anniversary of the shootings that killed 26 people.

Yes, some unfortunate Getty Images photographer (his name is John Moore) had the thankless job of going to Newtown to snap a picture of a sign imploring him to stay away. “NO MEDIA! POLICE TAKE NOTICE” says the sign he shot on this snowy Saturday, along with pictures of snowmen, Christmas lights, and signs in storefront windows expressing support for the community.

Also read: A Year After Sandy Hook, What’s Changed? Nothing

The Newtown Action Alliance, which earlier this week asked reporters to leave Newtown alone, told TheWrap that they appeared to be respecting their wishes.

“While there may be media here in Newtown, we have not noticed anyone,” a group representative said in an email. “A snowstorm may be also contributing to the lack of media.”

So could a lack of parking: The group’s founder told TheWrap that businesses aren’t allowing news trucks to stop on their property.

“None of the businesses are allowing media trucks to park, so I don’t think they have much of a choice – it is snowing heavily all day, which would make it difficult for them to lug their equipment around,” Dave Ackert said by email.

How many journalists actually went to Newtown? There’s no saying for sure, without, you know. TheĀ  Associated Press, for one, noted in a Newtown-datelined story that church bells rang out 26 times Saturday morning, once for each of the 20 children and six women killed in the shooting.

Also read: Newtown School Shootings: Why Are Networks Interviewing Kids?

Several news outlets, however, pledged to honor the town’s wishes. CNN said in a statement to its own media reporter, Brian Stelter, that it would not report from Newtown Saturday. NBC and other networks made similar pledges. CBS said it was aware of the town’s wishes and would cover the anniversary “in the least intrusive way possible.”

The AP, meanwhile, pledged “respectful coverage.”

Newtown residents gave reporters as little incentive as possible to visit by scheduling no public events Saturday. With nothing to cover in terms of anniversary news, news outlets were left to cover each other.

Which is, let’s be honest, pretty much our favorite thing.