Friday, February 20, 2009

UPDATE to Bomb Threat: Is it news? Post

UPDATE: Friday morning, 10:24 a.m.

Today's RedEye has printed a wire report quoting DePaul spokesperson Denise Mattson's press statement on yesterday's events. After contacting DePaul's Media Relations to clarify what "public address systems" referred to in that story, I spoke with Denise Mattson about the credibility of yesterday's post, "Bomb Threat: Is it news?"

Last evening I posted an update to the bomb threat report stating that a reliable source shared information about a search for a potential shooter at Lincoln Park Campus. The report says the threat received was not being taken seriously by those who knew, but that it was being thoroughly investigated by campus safety in conjunction with Chicago Police. I was told this information directly by a uniformed member of DePaul Public Safety as I was asked to assist in checking a women's bathroom for occupants.

The statement by DePaul Media Relations on the record for this report is that the authoritative source, DePaul's Campus Safety Director, has denied any threat of a school shooter and that no search was conducted last evening. Ms. Mattson referred to yesterday's update about the potential shooter search as "grossly inaccurate."

To be clear, the events posted to this blog relating to the search were witnessed first hand by me. I am attesting to the truth of this post's report. The reliable source is me.

The intention of this post is to share facts as they become available. Though Public Safety is on record denying that any search for a shooter occurred last night, I maintain that it did occur.

DePaul Media Relations also clarified what measures were taken during the bomb scare that were printed in the RedEye as "public alerts" other than e-mail. They contacted police when they learned of the threat. CPD decided to call for a precautionary evacuation. The "public alert system" utilized beyond e-mails to the university community included the loudspeaker and the electronic message board system installed within the library. Personal notifications were distributed via e-mail, in addition to the campus alert posted to the front page of the DePaul website.


  1. I'm going to go ahead and say that I was outraged yesterday and again this morning when I thought about the situation... My roommates and I couldn't stop talking about how ridiculous it is that we have an emergency alert system and none of us knew about a bomb threat. I feel almost offended that this didn't constitute as an emergency. Wouldn't it have been a nice thing to know if you were heading to class anywhere near the library??

    I found out about the threat from a news feed on Twitter before I found out from DePaul... pretty pathetic.

  2. Molly, fabulous reporting on all of this. Thank you for clarifying what you saw Thursday night.

    As a journalist working in a 24/7 environment, you will face a lot of pressure to get the story fast. In breaking news situations, you may not always report the story perfectly the first time around. That's why being transparent through the entire process is key.

    Well done Molly.