The person who perpetrated the murder spree in Santa Barbara knew that his name, his photograph, the video he made before he acted, and his written manifesto would be national news. He expected posthumous fame and an audience of millions.
He got it.
Like Zeynep Tufekci, who wrote about this phenomena two years ago in The Atlantic, "I am increasingly concerned that the tornado of media coverage that swirls around each such mass killing and the acute interest in the identity and characteristics of the shooter...may be creating a vicious cycle of copycat effects..."
Ezra Klein has the same concern.
"Mass murderers want glory and fame," he wrote at Vox. "Somehow, we need to stop giving it to them." That sounds doable. By custom, the U.S. media doesn't report troop movements or the names of underage rape victims. Outlets follow certain practices when reporting on suicide, too. There's no reason that better practices can't develop around mass shootings. They needn't be adhered to by everyone to work.
They just need to be the norm.
I'd urge other journalists to use the aftermath of this tragedy to debate what norms ought to govern the press after the next one. A lot of thorny questions will be raised.