Sandy Hook Shooting Sparks Twitter Shutdown For Neighboring ESPN Network

Sandy Hook Shooting Sparks Twitter Shutdown For Neighboring ESPN Network
ESPN Headquaters in Bristol, Connecticut

In the wake of the recent massacre that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., ESPN has elected to refrain from tweeting about sports or use the reference to shooter until Sunday noon in respect. ESPN, the self-proclaimed "World Wide Leader in Sports", is only 30 miles removed from Newtown, Conn., in Bristol.

The communications via email, were originally published by Deadspin come from Mark Gross, ESPN senior VP and Executive Producer. Gross explained and laid out the guidelines of approaching social media and news as seen in this transcript,

From: Gross, Mark I.
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2012 2:21 PM
To: Coordinating Producers M. Gross; Producers M. Gross; Production Studio Talent
Cc: Krulewitz, Josh; Scott, David R.; Keegan, Marcia; Drake, Jed; Orlando, Laurie; Wildhack, John
Subject: Newtown Tragedy

Due to the tragedy in Newtown, we are doing the following for the rest of today/tonight:

-no more teases for shows

-on air talent should come on the air and acknowledge the tragedy….. we will then want to show some athletes/coaches tweeting about the tragedy before we move into highlights, etc. (it may help to soften the difficult transition as best we can)

The news desk will take the lead on the tweets

We should not be getting into specific details on the shooting—-acknowledging the incident off the top is the direction we should go

-for the time being, we should not be tweeting about sports until further notice (the Talent Office will communicate when tweeting about sports can begin again)

-refrain from using ‘shooter' or other words which are not appropriate given the tragedy

-CPs and Producers must make sure everyone is on board in production meetings today

-Tina Thornton is taking the lead with sales to eliminate any inappropriate sales elements/commercials through the weekend

-We are shutting down the ‘Showdown Sunday' label for this weekend's NFL games

Please let me know if you have any questions

Gross then followed up with the specifics on when regular tweeting could commence, from Deadspin,

From: Gross, Mark I.
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2012 2:38 PM
To: Coordinating Producers M. Gross; Producers M. Gross; Production Studio Talent
Cc: Krulewitz, Josh; Scott, David R.; Keegan, Marcia; Drake, Jed; Orlando, Laurie; Wildhack, John
Subject: RE: Newtown Tragedy-Tweeting update

Tweeting on sports can begin at noon on Sunday

Thanks very much

ESPN senior coordinating producer Gerry Matalon added this note,

All ESPN Talent receiving this note…

Making sure you are aware to please discontinue tweeting about sports until noon on Sunday.

We are allowing insiders to tweet sports news stories (we just aren't reacting to sports news on twitter until noon on Sunday)

Thank you. -gmat

This is an interesting reaction for an event that happened outside the world of sports. I expect many to understand, due to the severity, heinous nature and location of the crimes. Look to how ESPN reacts to the tragedies as more news unfolds in the coming days and weeks.

Thoughts and prayers go out to every family who had a student or faculty member who was a victim in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. May God carry you through this unspeakable time.

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