The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 30, 2013

Bomb coverage a mixed blessing Facts, discussion important but don't overdose

OTTUMWA – Even a thousand miles away, the news from Boston won’t let up. Every new utterance from “suspect number two,” every new discovery about “suspect number one’s” travels, and, of course, the “old” video showing the bombs going off at the marathon still dominate the national media, from TV to sports magazines.

It’s OK to talk about these things, even with kids, said an Ottumwa expert — just don’t overdo it.

“A lot of research shows the media can absolutely affect how people, both kids and adults, are impacted by an incident,” said Julie Thomas, a school psychologist for Great Prairie Area Education Agency.

In a way, said one southeast Iowan who has studied his share of disasters, overblown coverage or obsessive attention to the coverage can help those "terrorists" who are looking to scare us.

“It is big news, but when reporters sensationalize, it is working for this bomber by helping spread their fear,” said Jerry Calnon, emergency management coordinator for both Jefferson and Keokuk counties.

The factor that affects kids more than what is on TV, however, is how the grownups around them react.

“They take their cues from us,” said Thomas. “A lot of what goes into that is the idea that children are going to respond a lot based on what adult reactions are. So if you’re crying uncontrollably watching TV for hours on end, they notice that and it [impacts] their thoughts about the incident ... and their own safety. The thing to do is make them feel safe and answer questions they may have."

That's important because children don’t always interpret what they are seeing correctly. They may be under the impression, for example, that when Mommy or Daddy go for a run, they could be bombed.

“It’s important to answer their questions,” said Thomas talking about children around elementary school age. “I know I said it before, but children want to know they’re safe, that life is going to continue and that there’s someone who can answer their questions. We need to reassure them.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

  • Calendar Groups wanting to be included in the Calendar must submit the item every time the group meets, at least three days in advance of the meeting.Send information to Calendar, Newsroom, Ottumwa Courier, 213 E. Second St., Ottumwa 52501 or send email to ne

    July 26, 2014

  • Alternate juror could not have convicted Techel based on evidence DAVENPORT — An alternate juror who was dismissed before Seth Techel, 23, of Agency was convicted of killing his wife and the non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy says the verdict could have been different if she had been in deliberations.D

    July 25, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Overcome testing fear, get a good job OTTUMWA — It's not who you know, it's what you know. That's what City leaders say about getting a good paying job in Ottumwa. "It seems like in the last year we've had a real reduction in the number of individuals who've applied," said Joni Keith, hu

    July 25, 2014

  • Water Pollution Control Facility gets OK to upgrade OTTUMWA — An emergency Ottumwa City Council meeting resulted in spending $140,583 for the Water Pollution Control Facility. Friday afternoon, council members listened intently as Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Kam Reeves told

    July 25, 2014

  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook