The genre of news is morphing. Communication technologies are changing the nature of news, where it can be found, and who produces it. The Virginia Tech killing spree in April 2007 was a newsworthy event made unique because of the myriad ways it was recorded and reported, much of it through digital media. Tracing changes in news historically, and drawing on Carey's ritual view of communication, this study: (1) explores in broad strokes the changing definition of news, from the 19th to the 21st centuries, and (2) examines results from focus group discussions about where people say they get their news, how they evaluate news sources, and particularly how they evaluated sources surrounding the Virginia Tech shooting. The story of the Virginia Tech massacre serves as a case study for changes in the news genre. It is the yardstick used here to measure dramatic shifts in news and information, including where the audience is situated in these shifts.
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