Maryland Teen Demanded That ABC News Change Its Maryland School Shooter Headline

"Your organization is above this. Please change this headline."

The Parkland teens aren't the only recent survivors of school shootings to have taken to social media to voice their calls for change. When ABC News published an Associated Press story about the teen who committed the recent school shooting at Great Mills High School, a student from the Maryland high school decided to call out the news organization and demand that they change the headline.


The headline in question — which has since been changed — described the 17-year-old shooter, reading, "Police: Maryland school shooter apparently was lovesick teen." Upon seeing the headline, Twitter user Jennifer Wright took a screenshot and then provided commentary on how inappropriate it was. 

"'Lovesick teens' write truly awful poetry," Wright tweeted. "They don't shoot people. Stop acting like this kind of behavior is just what happens when boys get their feelings hurt."

Wright's post was soon retweeted by high school student Mollie Davis, who attends Great Mills High School and was there at the time of the shooting. Included in her retweet was her own commentary on the issue. "[ABC] Your organization is above this," she wrote. "Please change this headline."

Davis' request was widely shared by her classmates. In the end, the teens achieved their goal, and the headline was changed.

Organizations such as Don't Name Them and Alerrt have previously pushed for news organizations' coverage of shootings to change, arguing that glamourizing or romanticizing the acts of violence can lead to copycat killings. 

As filmmaker Max Stossel told A Plus in 2016, "I hope readers will think twice before clicking or sharing an article about someone whose message or memory they don't want in the world, and I hope people working in media will join us in creating a policy to tell the stories of these incidents in a responsible manner."

Cover image via Shutterstock / Joseph Gruber.


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