By now, many who have been following this story know that the official narrative of the tragedy that left 19 students and two teachers dead has shifted, with early accounts being amended or retracted.
The San Antonio Express-News on Thursday published a timeline detailing the series of mistakes and deviations from original reports that officials made following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The New York Times also provided a clearer picture of the police response, including that officers delayed confronting the gunman for more than an hour, even though supervisors at the scene had been told that some trapped with him in two classrooms needed medical treatment.
Over the past two weeks, Nora López, executive editor of the Express-News, has led her staff in covering this story. The job has been made more difficult, she said, by the obstacles facing her reporters and photographers. Visiting law enforcement officials and bikers obstructed reporters’ abilities to cover the funerals of victims.
“In addition to the trauma of covering such an event, then to have to deal with all this harassment and attempts to stop us from reporting this story has been really disconcerting,” López said.
The Express-News and the Houston Chronicle (which are both owned by Hearst) sent a whole team of reporters and photographers to Uvalde after the shooting. But now she said they’ve scaled back to just one reporter and one photographer. She remains steadfast in a commitment to telling the stories of families still reeling from their loss.
On Tuesday, López spoke with Poynter about the work to continue covering the story of the Uvalde shooting victims and their families, and the obstacles journalists are facing in doing so.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
What have the past two weeks been like for your newsroom in covering the mass shooting in Uvalde?
It’s been pretty intense, just in and of itself … a mass shooting with so many people who were killed, children especially. It’s been a difficult story, but it’s been made all the more difficult by the problems that we the media have encountered with law enforcement and authorities in Uvalde. That has been a whole other issue that we’ve had to deal with. In addition to the trauma of covering such an event, then to have to deal with all this harassment and attempts to stop us from reporting this story has been really disconcerting.