Media Interest in FL School Shooting Higher Than Usual

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It’s been nearly a week since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Advocates and pundits say the national conversation has unfolded differently from previous shootings, reports Students who survived the shooting have been speaking out, organizing events, and demanding that leaders do something about gun laws that allow people to easily obtain weapons and slaughter children inside classrooms. In shooting after shooting — whether it’s Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, or Las Vegas — public attention quickly moves off the topic and onto other subjects.

Even in the deadliest or highest-profile shootings, the coverage peaks the day after the shooting, stays relatively high for a day or two — and then fades into the background in a few weeks. That’s what it looked like the Parkland school shooting was destined for. But on Monday, after weekend attention on special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of Russians who tried to interfere with the U.S.election, coverage of the shooting came roaring back. Five days after the shooting, coverage of it was higher than it was at the same point after the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012. That attention waned a little on Tuesday, but was still at relatively high levels. Google search volume suggests that people are still very interested in gun control nearly a week after the shooting. Since peaking on February 16, just two days after the shooting, searches for “gun control” have plateaued at about half that volume. It’s hard to say for sure what it means, because all previous evidence shows that the likeliest scenario is no action on guns.

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