As a journalist, I’ve covered war and famine overseas and crime and murders in the United States.

Since the story broke on the massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary, I’ve checked in and out, following the reports on National Public Radio and posts online on a variety subjects.

People and politicians are discussing gun control and mental health issues. Some people are advocating armed security in schools. Plenty of people are complaining about the media’s insensitivity and exploitation of the children and townspeople in a zealous effort to update the stories and break new stories. Reporters have gotten facts and information wrong.

And people have expressed outrage that the young gunman was receiving so much attention. They wanted the children remembered not the gunman. There was a post floating around Facebook, erroneously attributed to actor Morgan Freeman, suggesting that the media create celebrities out of killers, thereby encouraging others to emulate and outdo such news-making murderers.

As a journalist, I’ve covered terrible crimes that haunt me: grandparents and their grandchildren murdered in their home, a child whose parents refused medical intervention on religious grounds when the child nearly drowned, a young woman who was tortured in a garage then taken to a nearby forest and executed. And I’ve covered the crimes and trials of serial killers.

I was an Associated Press staff photographer in Seattle when the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, was captured and eventually convicted of murdering 49 women and girls.

A photo editor called an asked for the headshot/mug shot of Ridgway. I sent him the mug shot, plus the head shots of six to 10 of the women he’d killed.

The editor called back: You don’t need to send the photos of the women.

I told him that I absolutely needed to send the photographs of the murdered women. And he needed to run them. He needed to run them every time he ran a photo of the serial killer.

He listened though he was annoyed. I kept my word. Each time he asked for the Ridgway headshot, I sent photographs of the women.

One day, the LA editor called me again. Cheryl, I’ve thought about it. You’re right. We do need the victims’ photos. Thank you.

Here’s a link to photographs of the murdered 20 children and six adults, posted on the ABC News website on Dec. 17, 2012.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/sandy-hook-elementary-school-shooting-victims/story?id=17984685#.UNDsgUL3DUQ

And here are their names.

“The following is a list (as released by police) of the victims in Friday’s shooting spree on the campus of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.” (From “The Huffington Post,” 12/15/12)

– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

I am currently teaching journalism at Allegheny College. The students’ last day of class was Dec. 11. Most have finished finals and headed home for the holidays.

I sent out an email to all my students and mentioned that we would be discussing the ethics and challenges of covering this story if we were still in class.

I sent a link to an article by the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma that outlines guidelines for interviewing children.

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