News at Noon explores lockdown at Kirkwood High School

Kirkwood High School lockdownWhen an undercover KSDK (Channel 5) reporter walked unchallenged into Kirkwood High School, triggering a lockdown, the media became the news story.

KSDK’s visit was one of five made by the television station to schools in the region, according to the Webster-Kirkwood Times. The station had intended to expose lapses in school security. Instead, it tested the boundaries of journalism ethics.

The St. Louis Chapter’s News at Noon panel this month will explore the Kirkwood school lockdown and whether “testing” school security systems in this manner can be justified in light of the mass shootings in U.S. schools in recent years. Among the questions that will be addressed:

  • Is the greater good being served when reporters exhibit vigilance regarding school security and student safety?
  • How important is it for journalists to consider the impact their intrusion might have on students?
  • Under what conditions is undercover journalism acceptable and what rules should reporters observe?

The speakers include:

Dale Singer, education reporter at the St. Louis Public Radio/Beacon since 2008. During 28-plus years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he specialized in covering education.

Elizabeth Donald, a reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat for more than a decade who writes about city and county government, courts, education and the environment. Donald is a member of the national Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee.

Ginger (Fletcher) Cayce, the chief communications officer for the Kirkwood School District since 2008.

News at Noon is co-sponsored by the Missouri History Museum, which will host the presentation at noon Thursday, March 13, in the museum’s AT&T Room on the lower level. The museum is at 5700 Lindell Boulevard, on the north side of Forest Park at DeBaliviere Avenue. Food will not be provided; however, guests are invited to bring a brown-bag lunch or purchase one from Bixby’s Restaurant on the museum’s upper level.


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