Purpose: The study explores how educators use mass media to sensemake their experiences in relation to school shootings.
Methodology/approach: The present chapter uses content analysis to analyze educator tweets and results from an anonymous online survey.
Findings: Twitter is used by educators in the aftermath of school shootings to sensemake the impact these events have on teaching and learning outcomes. Moreover, educators turn to Twitter to debate larger issues related to gun control and arming teachers. Collectively, educators remain committed to their institutions and students; however, they may struggle to meet the ever-changing demands of what it means to be a teacher in the post-Columbine educational landscape.
Research limitations: While providing a starting point for understanding how educators sensemake their experiences with mass media, there are limitations. The sample size was limited to 55 tweets and 40 survey respondents. Furthermore, researcher bias is a concern. Both researchers work in higher education and have experienced the emotional “heaviness” that comes with discussions of school shootings.
Originality/value: This study provides insights into how educators use mass media to sensemake school shootings as both content producer and consumer. Findings indicate that through the identification of patterns within educators’ sensemaking processes, educational institutions can develop better systems for processing the effect of gun violence on the teaching experience and within the classroom.
May, A.R. and McDermott, V. (2021), "“Every Day When I Go to Work, I Wonder If it Will Be the Day I Die”: Sensemaking Mass Media and School Shootings", Wiest, J.B. (Ed.) Theorizing Criminality and Policing in the Digital Media Age (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 131-150. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020210000020013
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