Media Backlash at Virginia Tech

The media frenzy at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., has spurred resentment among family and friends who continue to mourn for the victims of Monday's shooting.

Anti-media signs have been spotted around the campus as the relationship between the community and the media becomes increasingly strained.

Students have also been handing out a flier that reads: "We are Hokie Nation and we need to mourn and heal. We need each other. The media has taken advantage of our situation and are exploiting us for their own sensationalism. We will not tolerate the abuse; we love our community far too much to stand for this any more.

"We, the students of Virginia Tech, are asserting ourselves. We are taking back our campus. All media, if they have any respect for Hokie Nation, will no longer attack our administration. They will no longer hound our students. Leave us to heal. Leave us to ourselves. Hokie Nation needs to be UNITED. Return our campus to us."

On Thursday, ABC News Radio received a call from an unidentified woman claiming to be a Virginia Tech student who requested producers to "remove coverage of the story."

During Wednesday's campus prayer time, the media maintained its high profile. Reacting to the media's presence at the event, one student blogger wrote, "One very frustrating thing about the prayer time [on the drill field] was the overwhelming presence of the media. … The cameramen were attempting to be respectful, but how can one pray when a strange man is poking a camera in your face and holding a boom microphone over your head? It was incredibly distracting to say the least."

But the media has not only complicated the healing process. The sheer size of its presence has taxed the college, campus administrators and the broader community. News and television crews have housed themselves in Blacksburg's hotels, making it difficult for those traveling to be with loved ones to find available space.

The parents of wounded student Kevin Sterne expressed gratitude to local people who opened their homes to them when there was no room at an inn Tuesday night because the media had booked all the rooms.

Earlier today, in a press conference, Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hinker reminded an audience of reporters that their sheer number does create some hurdles.

A conciliatory -- and exhausted -- Hinker went on to acknowledge the media's necessary function at Virginia Tech, but cautioned that soon enough, life on campus must return to normal.

The student blogger echoed that sentiment, writing, "I think the media leaving will be a huge sigh of relief for most of us, though we know that if the tables were turned, we'd want to know what was going on as well."

So far, most anti-media feeling on campus has been restricted to signs and flyers. On Wednesday, however, during a reporter's live standup inside Blacksburg's Main Street post office, resentment boiled over into aggressive protest, with hecklers demanding the crew to leave "our town."

ABC News' Andrew Papparella, Katie Hinman, Joyce Alcantara and Grace Huang contributed to this report.

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