is the quality which guarantees all others."
The tragedy at Virginia Tech is still heart wrenching. As a parent of a VT freshman, it is still hard to comprehend the magnitude of this tragedy. There
were many heroes on VT's Campus on April 16th, 2007. Many
are well documented in the press.
There are five individuals who were behind the scenes
that are absolute heroes in my mind. Those five heroes are
the individuals who run online Collegiate Times which is
VT's main online paper and kept the world informed on the
latest breaking news coming out of VT on this senseless
tragedy. These five individuals were literally working
around the clock, giving up sleep to keep their fellow
students, parents, family, friends, faculty and the rest of
the world informed.
These five unsung heroes all have the "first of human
qualities" - courage. It would have been perfectly
understandable if these five individuals would have given
up when their servers went down. But they did not. They
had the courage to literally work around the clock to get
the server back up *and* keep the rest of the world
informed of the latest updates to one of the most of
horrific days in the history of our country. The five
Chris Ritter, Online Director
Tim Tutt, Web Developer
John Edstrom, Associate Web Developer
Gabriel Martinez, Associate Web Designer
Collin Smith, Multimedia Editor
One of the many amazing statistics is that the
Collegiate Times received up to 53 million hits by
early afternoon on Monday April 16th.
Wikipedia has a nice history of the Collegiate Times with the
picture that appeared on the Collegiate Times April 17th, 2007,
edition titled "Heartache."
Below are just some of quotes on the fantastic work that
these five unsung heroes did under
The OnLine Newshour on PBS
"The Internet became a prime place for people to
get the news out of Blacksburg. The college
newspaper, the Collegiate Times, scooped the major
media, getting the story online, right after the
first shot rang out, and staying on it non-stop
The 104-year-old paper received up to 53 million
hits by early Monday afternoon, forcing the site
down for a time. It also listed some of the dead
early Tuesday morning, prompting the New York Times
Web site and other news outlets to link to the
The Shield - University of Southern Indiana Student Newspaper
"The information on the Web site is remarkable.
Besides the list of confirmed deceased, the site
provides a graphic map of the shootings, a photo
gallery, personal accounts and interviews and
related stories ranging from emerging donation
details to the impact on the nearest hospital. The
staff has handled the facts correctly, but not
without compassion, which is a difficult task.
The Collegiate Times editorial says, "When
considering the number of deceased victims, 32 is
devastating, but those lives are not just a number,
each one is a member of our community." Journalism
cannot be disregarded due to a personal tragedy,
since citizens rely on journalists for information.
Such journalists must remember, however, that
although horrific tragedies stir media attention as
sensational, there is nothing sensational about
human suffering and coverage must be conducted
Well done Collegiate Times staff.
To those that believe campus newspapers are a waste
of time and funding, let this tragedy serve the
purpose of proving the necessity of campus
Chronicle of Higher Education
"National Public Radio is among news organizations
that have profiled and praised Virginia Tech
student newspaper, The Collegiate Times, which has
become a crucial source of information for other
reporters covering Monday's events.
The papers online edition, said NPR's Larry
Abramson, has grabbed international attention
indeed, on Tuesday The New York Timess home page
linked to the student publications list of
confirmed victims of the shooter. Mr. Abramson
also pointed out that Collegiate Times staff
members know how to mine Facebook for information
inaccessible to many older reporters who are
unfamiliar with the social-networking site." -
WGHP Fox TV VIDEO:
"The team at The Collegiate Times, the campus
newspaper, will remain. So far, they have been
setting the pace for all journalists"
"The face of a crisis, the writers, photographers
and editors of Virginia Tech's student daily, The
Collegiate Times, transcended their roles as
college journalists to not only inform their
community, but to inform the world. With many local
news sources shut out, only limited comments coming
from Virginia Tech officials and an entire campus
on lock-down, the importance of these students'
work was heightened to an extreme. The written,
photographic and video posts to The Times website
throughout the day were among the most vivid and
honest portraits of the campus available. Working
from computers outside of their offices, the
students held nothing back, and produced a raw,
emotional narrative of the tragedy. Their reporting
was effective, critical and in every sense, brave."
Editor and Publisher
"While the editors of the student newspaper went
about their work with inspiring leadership,
internal communications by Virginia Tech
administrators showed the University was less than
fully prepared. As more and more details about the
sequence of events have been released, it has
become clear that administrators did not notify the
entire campus or order a full lockdown until more
than two hours after the first round of shooting
began. Whether or not any of the deaths in the
second round of shooting could have been avoided,
we should realize the need for all institutions to
prepare for the unimaginable. And in the face of
this shooting, college administrators everywhere
should recognize the need to share information with
their communities quickly and clearly, even as the
full extent of a crisis may remain unknown."
"The college paper at Virginia Polytechnical
Institute kept a running account of the tragedy
that struck the campus today, with more than 30
students gunned down in at least two areas of the
campus, a dorm and a classroom. The shooter is
allegedly dead as well, but not identified. It is
not known if he was a student ...
Here is how the student-run Collegiate Times
reported it, blog-style, with the most recent
posting first. A full article is now posted there,
which includes the note that police "are also
investigating if it has any relation to the recent
bomb threats on Tech's campus."
Seattle Post Intelligencer
"For unique reporting on the massacre read the
Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's student-run
University Daily Kansan
"While news organizations like CNN have done a
thorough job in covering Monday's events, I'd like
to point the readers of kansan.com to Virginia
Tech's student newspaper, the Collegiate Times.
After overcoming early technical difficulty when
the news initially broke, they've done what I feel
is an admirable job as the student voice of the
Virginia Tech community.
In the process of learning about these tragic
events, be sure to not overlook the students
"I found a couple sites with unique angles on this
story. One of the most interesting is The
Collegiate Times, which is VT's student newspaper.
Their staff apparently first reported this shooting
this morning. The server is overwhelmed right now,
but it will be interesting to check their coverage
in the days and weeks ahead."
"Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech provided a
grim, real-time stress test for the effectiveness
of Web 2.0 technologies. And on Monday, all of them
seemed to work: Information flew through text
messages, blog posts, Web sites, online videos and
social networking sites.
The Internet reacted to the event immediately--and
more quickly than Virginia Tech administrators, who
took two hours to warn students, via e-mail, about
a first shooting. The Web site of VT's student
newspaper, the Collegiate Times, crashed when
students flooded it after the first shooting. As a
replacement, students created a low-tech blog,
It posted the first entry about the event at 9:47 a.m.,
minutes before the second shooting began."
"The student newspaper, the Collegiate Times,
regularly updated its website proving to be a
valuable resource for the campus as well as the
"And as this happened, students at the Collegiate
Times, the Virginia Tech student newspaper, were
able to live-blog the days events. The Web site
began the day with a post at 9:47 a.m. EST,
reporting Shots were fired on campus and
provided continuing updates throughout the day. The
entries of the papers staff provide an
illuminating window into the fear and questioning
that doubtless gripped the campus in those
"The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's campus newspaper,
was the first media outlet to break the story Monday with
on-line reports of shots fired on campus."
"No amount of on-the-job experience or education
could have prepared Kelly Furnas for what he's
faced this week in his capacity as an editorial
advisor to the campus newspaper at grief-stricken
Virginia Tech University.
To be honest its been pretty much non-stop working
with the student newspaper I have not had time on a
personal level to sit down and digest everything
yet," Furnas said.
The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech's campus
newspaper, was the first media outlet to break the
story Monday with on-line reports of shots fired on
"I can't put into words how proud I am of our
students," Furnas said. "They have provided
desperately needed information to their readers,
and they have done that with gusto. I think the
campus newspaper's reputation with the students
here has helped a lot."
"'The school's student newspaper, The Collegiate
Times, filed up-to-the-minute online dispatches. At
4.44pm: "Police have confirmed that the shooter
took his own life." At 4.54pm: "University
Relations has confirmed 31 deaths at Norris Hall,
in addition to two deaths at West Ambler Johnson."
The Collegiate Times (its server quickly crashed
and a blog written by editors with messages from
students appeared instead on the web site of the
newspapers owning company), as well as to media
outlets around the world, including CNN and the
BBC. Regardless of where the contributions are
aimed, the back and forth on facebook.com and other
social networking sites are equally an instant and
new resource for news producers and reporters
"As reporters from around the world descend on
Blacksburg, Va., one publication stands out:
Virginia Tech's student newspaper, Collegiate
Times, is doing a truly remarkable job of covering
About 15 staff members were rushing to update the
site about every 15 minutes with news of the
convocation, shooting investigation and candlelight
"We're getting like 10 billion phone calls,
everyone from Al Jazeera to tiny radio stations in
Iowa," Kendall said.
"The paper's scoops included eyewitness accounts of
the shootings, interviews with a classmate of the
shooter and a list of victims' names that was
posted late Tuesday. A reporter was one of the
first to question administrators about why they
didn't warn students during the two hours between
the two shootings Monday morning."
"The Web staff for Virginia Tech's student
newspaper, The Collegiate Times, was also
scrambling for solutions after its servers crashed
around 10:30 a.m. the day of the shootings.
the site back to its original state -- a large,
graphical and Flash-intensive homepage. When that
couldn't happen, Ritter and his staff opted for a
simple text page with blue background -- to ensure
they could communicate information quickly to
users. After that page continued to overload its
own server, The Collegiate Times tech adviser,
Scott Chandler, suggested that the staff use the
College Media server, the parent company which
hosts the publication's site.
Once the site stabilized on the additional server,
The Collegiate Times began posting photos and
videos to a third server usually reserved for
design research and development. To prevent
crashing again, a Virginia Tech server is now
hosting videos and photos for the site.
Monday night The Collegiate Times staff redesigned
its homepage from scratch to have a Web site that
was "intuitive and a graphically pleasing display"
of its special content for the shootings. The
Collegiate Times began creating breaking-news
multimedia when escaped convict William Morva shot
two police officers at Virginia Tech on the first
day of school last August.
Since then, Ritter said users are looking at the
Web for information more than ever before, and the
staff has adopted a Web-first attitude change."
Roanoke Times on CT:
Coping Through Journalism Video