Signs of media discontent

Posted: Thursday, April 19 at 01:00 pm ET by Petra Cahill, MSNBC.com


A sign posted on a wall in front of Virginia Tech's Burruss Hall suggests that patience is wearing thin with media coverage of Monday's massacre. (Mannie Garcia / AFP – Getty Images)

The attention given to Virginia-Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui’s rambling, rant-filled manifesto drew a mixed reaction Wednesday from Virginia Tech students and supporters gathered at the victims’ memorial on the campus Drillfield.

The scene at the impromptu memorial to Cho’s 32 victims was subdued on a cold-gray morning. Placards covered in messages had been moved under a tent to protect them from the weather.

Dan Goerlich, a Virginia Tech employee and 1994 graduate, said he had
“mixed emotions” about the release of the gunman’s video, images and written manifesto.

“On the one hand, in a way, it does what Cho wanted, which was to get his message out, to get him some notoriety,” he said. “On the other hand, as shameless as it is, it does answer some questions that people have.”

Gabrielle Minnich, a Virginia Tech graduate who has worked at the school since 1990, said she tried to avoid seeing the video release from Cho.

“I’ve seen little clips, and I’ve turned away, because I don’t think we need to focus on that,” she said. “I’m sorry it happened because it’s just prolonging the whole process we have to go through.”

Erin Millar, who drove from Roanoke, Va. with her husband, Jeff, to pay respects to the victims, said she believed NBC News, which received the package sent by the killer, should not have aired the material. Doing so, she said, is taking the focus where it belongs: on the victims of the tragedy.

“He’s getting exactly what he wanted,” she said. “Isn’t that exactly, as America, what we don’t want him to get?”

Millar wasn’t the only person unhappy with the coverage of the tragedy.

Behind the memorial, a 2-by-2-foot orange cardboard sign was affixed to a wall in front of Burruss Hall overnight reading, “VT stay strong, Media Stay Away.”

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As officials, students and families struggle to come to terms with the tragedy at Virginia Tech, a team of MSNBC.com reporters and editors and NBC News producers and correspondents is on the scene.