Sandy Hook school shooting international and USA media coverage



Mass shootings and gun control are one of the major issues that the U.S government is trying to get solutions to as most innocent Americans have lost their lives (Carter, 2017). In most cases, the culprits normally learning institution where the effects and mass shooting can be felt by the parents, government and the entire world. Sandy Hook School shooting is a major event that shook the whole world but there are a lot of conspiracies and different media houses locally and internationally reported different facts about what was happening when the incident occurred. Therefore, this paper will give an analysis of both the local and the international media coverage of the incident.

CNN is one of the international media houses that reports major events that are happening across the world without any form of bias. However, when it came to this issues, most people believe that the media houses did not have the right information when they started reporting about this story. This was one of the deadliest mass shooting that has ever happened in the United States of America. This event also triggered loss of debates relating to gun violence, the safety of children in the schools and metal health state of the children in school as it was evident from the CNN presenters and commentators while reporting this issue (U.S, 2016).

The media house reported that Adam Lanza hated her mother as he believed that the mother loved other children more than him. Sources that gave the media house the information stated that his mother had formerly volunteered in the school between 1998-2012 (Sanchez, 2013). However, reports indicated that Adam acted alone in the mass shootings. CNN also reported that Adam had no emotional connection with the mother and later events leading to this occasion indicates otherwise. This is because of all together they participated in various activities and even went for family vacations together which is a clear indication of a tight family bond between the two of them. Prior to this event, Adam’s mother had discussed his disabilities with a friend, and she even decided to take a trip to New Hampshire to be able to determine whether he could be independent in any way as he was a teenager. Initially, CNN did not have the actual number of the victims of the mass shooting, but after the investigations were completed by the local police, the media house was able to identify that approximately 20 children and other school staff were killed during the incident. Earlier reports had indicated that the mother was killed in the school, but the final reports indicate that Adam killed his mother inside their home. However, one fact that was reported right if the fact that he killed himself with a handgun when the police arrived in the school compound. One of the major controversies with the CNN while reporting this issue was the fact that its presenters reported that the mother was a teacher in the school but they, later on, they could not find her connection with the school (Sanchez, 2013).

BBC is also another international media outlet that was involved in the reporting of this incident. Basically, the media house described this as one of the most deadly mass shooting that has ever happened in the country. As noted earlier, the vent also triggered the debates on the safety of children in the schools and the issue of gun violence and how it affected innocent lives. Analysts from various schools also started to comment on how or whether the teachers and the parents were aware of the mental health of their children despite them giving signs that they are mentally unstable.

One of the most notable fact that BBC reported was the fact that they claimed Adam had mental health issues which in the final reports by the police turned out to be true. However, this was still a controversial issue as no record could be traced that indicated that he was mentally unstable. Al they could get were the reports of teachers of how Adam creative writing was characterized by graphics. The teacher noted that his writings were a clear indication that he was obsessed with war which tuned out to be true as he executed this event with no fear (BBC, 2013). It is important to note that BBC had facts right on the number of the victims of the mass shooting. Approximately 2 children and 6 adults were involved in the mass shootings. It also reported that the mother was killed at home which turned out to be true. However, their reports indicated that Adam’s mother was a teacher in the same school which turned out to be different. One of the most controversial issues that came out during the reporting which was the media house was too quick to fill was how Adam owned an automatic rifle and a handgun at the same time.

The Telegraph is a media house based in the United Kingdom that was also involved in the reporting of the Sandy School shootings in Connecticut, U.S. The media outlet reported that approximately 20 children and 7 adults were killed during the shootings. Adam’s mother, Nancy Lanza also owned and had a gun collection in their house. Precisely, she had five legally registered guns. His son Adam carried five of this guns from time to time. However, on the eve of the shootings, he uses the automatic rifle to shoot his schoolmates. The media house also noted that Adam wiped out a full class with six students and one teacher. One of the doctors who examined the bodies of the dead children note that some of the children had been shot 11 times. The perpetrator later killed himself when the police arrived at the school, compound. The mother had confided in one of her friend who refused to be revealed that her relationship with Adam was getting worse day by day and she could see some disaster coming.

Analysis of the 3 papers

CNN and BBC media outlets played a huge role in reporting to the world of the mass shooting occurrence in this school. Both of the media houses released different information at different times mostly after verifying their sources and after the police investigations on this issue was complete. It is important to note that misreporting’s are clearly evident on the issue. Both of them reported that Adam’s mother was a teacher in the school. CNN reported that his mother had volunteered as a teacher in the same learning institution between the years 1998-2012. After the final police investigations, there was no direct link between the school and the mother.

Secondly, both media houses reported that Adam had mental health issues. CNN had reported that one of Adam’s mother friend stated that the mother had confided in her about the state of mental health and how she had travelled out of town to be able to assess whether Adam could be left on his own. What is not clear is how Adam hated is a mother and the fact that they altogether again went for target shootings together. There are clear discrepancies in the relationship between the two of them. This is because BBC reported that it is the mother who had bought him the weapons which he used during the mass shootings. Another issue was the total number of victims of the mass shootings. CNN reported that Adam Lonza killed approximately 20 children and staff altogether. On the other hand, BBC reported that Adam Lonza had killed 20 children and 6 adults.

The Telegraph which is a local media house in the UK had actual facts on the number of victims who were shot during the incident. The Telegraph reported that 20 children and seven adults were killed during the incident. It also reported that Adam’s mother had a gun collection which the other news outlets failed to note. She legally owned five guns, and her son carried 3 of the guns and walked around with them (Swaine, 2012). It is important to note that the media outlet heavily relied on the reports given by the police department after the investigations were complete unlike the other media houses noted earlier in the paper who were too quick to fill in the gaps in their reporting. However, it failed to report on critical details of the incident like when and how Adam killed his mother and how she was connected to the school.

However, police findings also indicate that he had mental issues which still could not be verified. Other sources indicated that Adam acted on his own as he carried out the mass shootings. BBC also reported that Adam’s mother was also a substitute teacher in the school which turned out not to be true as there was no connection between her and the school. There social biasness and commentators views on Adam and his mother drove these controversies even one. This is a common occurrence in the media reporting especially on breaking news issue where they have no reported on the ground, and they have to rely on the information they are getting from the unverified sources.


According to the final reports that were given by the police after the investigations, Adam Lonza acted on his own when he conducted the mass shootings. There were no clear indications that he was mentally unstable although his mother had earlier confided I his friend that Adam had mental disabilities. It is also clear that his mother had no direct connection to the Sandy Hook School. Adam acted out of outrage as he believes that his mother loved other children more than he loved him. It is also important to note that it is Adam’s mother who bought him the automatic rifle as they normally went for target shooting excercises together. However, his obsession with battles as indicated by his creative writing graphics is what could have possibly caused his behavior. The actual number of the victims of the shootings were 20 children and 6 adults. Adam later took his life with a handgun when police entered the school compound.

One aspect that both the international media houses got right was the fact that the responding officers found some students and teachers hidden in a bookshelf whether they should not believe that it is the police who were calling and they had come to rescue them. Adam also killed himself when the police stepped into the school compound. As noted earlier, some of the media houses were too quick to fill in the gaps with mere speculations which heightened the controversies. It is unfortunate that the media houses in U.S had to misreport while international media houses had their facts right as they heavily relied on the police reports other than relying on unverified sources or filling in the gaps for themselves. One of the leading causes of the differences in reporting was the intense competition between the media houses (Mooney, Knox & Schachts, 2009). Most of them relied on unverifiable sources who ended up giving them the wrong information. Lack of and less staff on the ground is also another factor. The instaneous transmission of information without being verified was also another challenge that led to these differences.

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  1. BBC News, (2013). Newton shooting: Final Report reveals painful details. Retrieved from:   
  2. Carter, G. L. (2017). Gun control in the United States: A reference handbook.
  3. Swaine, J. (2012). Connecticut school shooting: Adam Lanza’s mother was preparing for disaster. The Telegraph. Retrieved from:
  4. Mooney, L. A., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2009). Understanding social problems. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
  5. Sanchez, R (2013). Conn. Police release final report on Newton school shooting: CNN. Retrieved from:
  6. United States., & Development Services Group, Inc. (2016). Gun violence and youth.


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