From the editor's desk: Covering a campus tragedy
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
At The New Hampshire, we make sure to cover every aspect of the university, not just the bright side of things. Covering crime and controversy is essential to producing an informative newspaper, and some journalists even revel in reporting on it. But every once in a while, a story comes along that leaves your stomach in knots. Instead of welcoming the newest update, you dread what investigators will uncover next.
As the series of events in Lizzi Marriott’s disappearance unfolded last week, it became increasingly harder to stomach the news that police were releasing. When her death was reported on Saturday, it was like a blow to the chest. Here is one of our peers, by all accounts a bright and charming young woman, stolen from the world in the prime of her youth.
We are trained in Journalism 101 to stay detached from our news stories and report without conflict of interest. In reality, that is almost impossible.
But that is what we have tried to do in covering the alleged murder of Elizabeth Marriott. A first-year UNH student is gone too soon and there are many essential facts that have yet to be uncovered.
We have made mistakes in the past with campus tragedies. As with anything, we have tried to learn from our mistakes and come out the better for it.
In today’s issue, we published a story filled with the latest details in the investigation, providing anyone without prior knowledge of the situation all that he or she needs to know to be informed. There are sure to be many more aspects of this investigation that will be revealed in the coming days and weeks. We will stay up-to-date on every important detail.
We also published a story profiling the suspect, Seth Mazzaglia, without indicting him or unfairly representing his history. We simply sought to paint as full a picture as possible of the man accused of murdering a fellow student.
And we published a story commemorating Lizzi’s life, which is perhaps the most important thing we as a UNH community can do during this time. She was a bright human being who never had the chance to fully shine at UNH, joining the university just a month and a half ago. But she was clearly a special person who will be missed by many.
In the coming months, we will find out whether Seth Mazzaglia is guilty of murdering Elizabeth Marriott or not. What we know right now is that a student with hopes and aspirations just like the rest of us is no longer with us. It is up to UNH students to make sure she is not soon forgotten in this community.