The Columns

Lessons of the WDBJ-TV 7 Tragedy

— by on January 29th, 2016

Two key members of Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV 7 staff will visit Washington and Lee University Feb. 3 and tell their stories of the tragedy last August when two of their colleagues were shot and killed on live television.

General manager Jeff Marks, the spokesman for his station during the crisis, and reporter Joe Dashiell, a 1980 W&L graduate, will share the lessons they learned on subjects ranging from workplace violence to the unfiltered nature of social media.

The discussion will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Auditorium inside Elrod Commons. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 540-458-8212.

On Aug. 26, 2015, reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were conducting a live interview on WDBJ’s morning newscast when a gunman approached and started firing at them. Both Parker and Ward died at the scene. The woman they interviewed was seriously wounded but survived. The gunman, a former employee, later killed himself.

Marks joined his anchor team on the set and spent much of the day releasing information as it became available and providing a calming voice. Dashiell spent many days covering various angles of the story.

Photographer Bruce Young, a 1985 W&L graduate, was working for a competing Roanoke TV station that morning. He will offer his perspective, as well. Young has since joined WDBJ as a morning news photographer.

Kevin Finch, W&L journalism and mass communications professor, will serve as moderator.