By Ryan Vasquez
When the shooting that claimed the lives of 14 students and three staff members took place on Feb. 14, 2018 many of the participants of this project watched it unfold in the WUFT newsroom.
Some were not only watching a tragedy taking place in the state they covered as reporters, they were watching it all unfold in the city or county they called home.
I was a freshman in high school when I too watched a horrible school shooting unfold on television. The Columbine High School shooting has stuck in my mind ever since.
Generation Gunned Down attempts to look at the aftermath of school shootings from Columbine to Parkland and what solutions exist to prevent the next tragedy.
Parkland was an obvious first step in our coverage as it was a continuation of the year long coverage WUFT had already undertaken. This unfortunate generational look all began with Columbine, so the Denver area was a logical location to travel to. We trekked to Washington, D.C. to tackle the federal perspective on gun reform. Finally, we chose to visit Toronto, Canada to gain insight into how gun violence is handled outside of the United States.
Over the course of this project we’ve gained a greater understanding of the unwieldy and often partisan conversation around school safety and gun violence. There is no absence of ideas when it comes to solutions, however there is an absence of consensus on the right path forward. One thing everyone agrees on, is that it is imperative to better secure our schools and to make sure Generation Gunned Down doesn’t extend to another 20 years.
To the more than 50 people we talked to during the reporting of this project. Much appreciation for our lovely VRBO hosts at all of our travel locations. Thanks to Mira Lowe, Director of the Innovation News Center, for her support and guidance throughout the project. Thanks to everyone at WUFT-FM and WUFT-TV who helped bring the multimedia elements of this project to audiences in North Central Florida and beyond. Finally, thanks to everyone with a stake in school safety working towards solutions to better protect future generations of students.