The collapse of the Texas A&M bonfire and the media aftermath



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This report is an in-depth analysis of the media coverage of the 1999 collapse of the Texas A&M Bonfire. The report also provides insight, through extensive interviews with journalists involved in the coverage, of how reporters handle the personal emotions associated with tragedy reporting. Through the interviews, I paint a picture of what it was like to arrive on the scene in College Station on Nov. 19, 1999 and detail some of the different strategies and philosophies journalists used to cover the event. The final part of the report is dedicated to exploring the relationship between media and communities in tragedy. The Bonfire collapse and the Columbine school shootings in Littleton, Colo., serve as case studies to analyze the effect of media on a community and vice versa. To conclude, the report attempts to paint a picture of the reality of the Bonfire coverage – its difficulties, its successes and, in some areas, where the media failed.