The Stamford Advocate came under fire Thursday after a large advertisement for an upcoming gun show ran next to a story about the opening of the new Sandy Hook Elementary.
A picture of the Connecticut newspaper was tweeted by BuzzFeed's Michael Hayes, and the image quickly made the rounds on social media sites.
— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) January 3, 2013
The ad for the East Coast Fine Arms Show ran on page A5 with images of several weapons. The story beside it detailed the opening of the new Sandy Hook Elementary. (The students have been moved to a new building as the old school remains taped off, with investigators continuing to probe last month's deadly school shooting.)
Jim Romenesko, a former Poynter editor who now runs his own media blog, asked why it wasn't "standard operating procedure at this point to make sure there aren’t gun ads next to school shooting-related stories."
He contacted Hearst Connecticut Media Group executive editor Barbara T. Roessner, who sent out the following statement:
Our newspapers should not be running gun ads — including ads for antique and collectible gun shows — next to stories about Sandy Hook. It’s insensitive, and it shouldn’t have happened. It was an oversight, and we apologize for it. We have taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The Rock Hill Herald issued a similar apology after running a large gun ad on the same page as its main coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre. The ad was for a sale on assault rifles similar to the one reportedly used by shooter Adam Lanza.
Editor Paul Osmundson called the placement a "terrible mistake."