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hnnA year ago today I was part of the news world. Or at least tried to be. As a news report went in Virginia went from reporting the news to being the news.

For those of you who are unsure of what I’m talking about with my extremely vague lead paragraph, let me run this down for you. Last year news reporter Alison Park and photojournalist Adam Ward were in the middle of conducting a live report with Vicki Gardner, executive director of the local chamber of commerce. When suddenly a gunman took their lives.

Parker and Ward, from WDBJ7’s Twitter account

Park and Ward worked for the local CBS affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia when they were shot to death live on television during the interview. With this being shown live the world was part of their deaths. But the who done it was the biggest news.

A manhunt occurred and the social media played a huge role in the situation. As CNN had reported this entire situation, they mention who the suspect is, Bryce Williams, and this is where things get real interesting. Well, I guess even more interesting.

I as a person who is interested in learning more and who interests himself as a amateur journalist I jump to my social media accounts and search Bryce Williams. I search Facebook and Twitter.


A screen shot I took of Flanagan’s persona Bryce Williams Twitter account on the day of the incident

While I’m on his Twitter account, not really positive if it is him or not, I start noticing live updates coming through. He tweets “Alison made racist comments” another tweet reads “EEOC report filed.”


Another screen shot I took of his Twitter this one of his timeline feed.

As it has since be revealed he had some incidents with Alison Park earlier in their tenure of working together. Vester Lee Flanagan II had claimed that Parker and Ward racially discriminated by him as well the CBS affiliate WDBJ. Supposedly Parker made a “coded racist remark” regarding a friend who lived on Cotton Hill Road. Other incidents including numerous complaints from coworkers about Flanagan that they were “feeling threatened or uncomfortable” around him. Lead to his ultimate firing. Which lead to an altercation in which police had to escort him from the building.

Shortly after the murders Flanagan took to his social media account and ultimately posted a video of the event. A video I had originally seen live as he uploaded it. A video that well, seemed unreal in that how real it really was. It just seemed like a Hollywood creation in the fact that how could anyone feel this was the ultimate solution to their problem?

On a day in which one journalist killed two others, I became a journalist in my own regards. I remember that day and in the sadness of what occurred it was a really interesting day for me. I felt like a real news reporter. Telling my friends, trying to keep my facts in line, not revealing my sources. All that fun stuff that journalists do.

The entire days events that transpired for those individuals, their friends, family had to be and still seems so unreal. And I know in my little way I didn’t ultimately help, but for a brief second I felt like I at least discovered the wheel.