News Outlets Thrive With Online Coverage of Shooting

ByABC News
April 19, 2007, 2:14 PM

April 19, 2007 — -- In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, TV network Web sites provided a bevy of information, much of it created by their online staffs.

The big three networks were generally late in coming to the online game, but several media analysts said that the shooting coverage has been a sort of coming of age for their sites.

Graeme Newell, a broadcast and digital-media consultant in North Carolina, said what this story shows the public and the business world is "how far the networks have come in their online presentation."

"It's been so great to go to a lot of the Web sites now and to be able to see how these guys are breaking the story out into so many incredibly different angles," he said.

Julio Rumbaut, a media consultant based in Miami, said that the sites are gaining users due to general migration.

"Certainly events like these, which can be viewed and analyzed by users at their convenience, portends well for the increased future use of network Web sites," he said.

Joseph Jaffe, president of Crayon, a new marketing consulting company, added, "Truth is that people don't want to tune in to regurgitations of things they already know in the hope of finding out the one nugget or insight they're searching for.

"The networks' Web sites offer a smorgasbord of information -- in multiple media formats -- and allow the consumer to self-select, quickly and efficiently," he said.

"I also think blogs are playing a major role in this transformation through linking or tracking back to the 'hub' or source of the information," said Jaffe, who has his own blog.

One of the most shocking -- and talked about -- bits of news came Wednesday when NBC News received a video from shooter Seung-hui Cho.

The video was aired by the network and shared with media around the world, but also quickly found a home on the Web.

NBC News issued a statement about its use of the video, saying the same decision "was reached by virtually every news organization in the world, as evidenced by coverage on television, on Web sites and in newspapers."