When the news broke on Monday’s school shooting at the Minnesota’s Red Lake High School, journalists swarmed the remote reservation where it occurred. “The mass media finds nothing juicier than a school rampage, and this one promised the highest body count since Columbine in 1999,” says the City Pages newspaper in Minneapolis. Reporters usually would knock on doors in the affected community to get reactions, but it didn’t happen at Red Lake. Its status as a closed reservation gives the band unusual authority to restrict the movements of non-band members, including reporters.
By Tuesday, journalists were mainly restricted to a parking lot of the Red Lake Detention Facility, where they were spoon-fed accounts by assorted officials. Unlike Littleton, Co., Jonesboro, Ar., and other communities rendered infamous by the endless videos of their school shootings and aftermath, Red Lake maintained an unusual measure of control over the descending media horde. City Pages interviewed veteran Bemidji Pioneer photographer Monte Draper on what he thought of the restrictions placed on journalists.