Social media plays a big role in murder of TV reporter, photogra - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Social media plays a big role in murder of TV reporter, photographer

(WVUE) -

After a reporter and photographer were killed on live TV Wednesday morning, much of the drama that followed played out on social media.

“This was well-calculated, well-planned, he knew exactly what he was going to do,” Tulane professor of social media Ashley Nelson said.

Hours after the brazen murders, suspect Vester Flanagan took to social media to boast of his actions. Before Facebook and Twitter could suspend his accounts, countless people watched the video Flanagan took, of him shooting and killing Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

“This was actually one of the first times where this raw footage was being shown of someone taking another person’s life,” Nelson said.

Flanagan was fired from WDBJ - the station where Parker and Ward worked - two years ago, and at the time, had to be escorted out of the building by police.

Mary Claire Landry, executive director of the New Orleans Family Justice Center, explains, “I think you need to be cautious, you really need to know who you're hiring and really take all the precautions that you can.”

Landry helps train employers to avoid violence in the workplace.

“This man obviously felt very disenfranchised, he felt that there were racial comments so I think agencies and employers take those things very seriously, they need to talk to their employees just about sexual harassment, racial comments,” Landry said.

Background checks, Landry explains, are key, as is asking employees why they may have been let go from previous positions. But of course, that information isn't always revealed and tragedies like the one Wednesday morning, can't always be prevented. 

“I think this is a wake-up call for all of us,” Landry said..

Ashley Nelson thinks so many people viewed the video Flanagan posted online not only out of curiosity but because as a society, we've become so de-sensitized to seeing violence.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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