UT journalism professors focus classes on Roanoke shooting

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Journalism students at the University of Tennessee are getting a unique lesson as professors focus their lectures on the shooting in Roanoke, Virginia, that left a photographer and reporter dead.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot to death Wednesday morning during a live shot.

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It was a frightening situation for journalists throughout the country, and professors are turning it into a chance to teach their students something they might not normally hear.

Dr. Sam Swan at UT focused his lecture on the murders.

“I’m sure that many of them are wondering, ‘Is this something I really want to do? Is this a dangerous occupation?’ And so I thought it would be good to talk about that,” said Dr. Swan.

Many of the students in his class have aspirations to be reporters themselves one day. It was somber news as they get ready to start their careers.

“It’s just you, one other person maybe, and especially that early in the morning without anyone else around, easy target,” said student Taylor Gilmore.

Gilmore’s classmate Jataun Bolen said, “It’s the beginning of the class, the semester, and so it’s kind of like ok now you’re realizing this is real.”

It was another lesson for the students as journalists in Roanoke and all over the country continued to do their jobs, a senseless crime not stopping them from doing what they love.

“You still have to be able to go out and report the stories. Just because something like that happens shouldn’t scare anyone,” said student Haley Burton.

Other professors say they have also been talking about the shooting in their classes.

Many of them watched the coverage from Roanoke Wednesday.

“I think they need to be reassured that this is a profession which is more than just a job. It is a calling, and people do it because they have a passion for television news,” said Dr. Swan.

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