Nancy Cooper: Social Media to the Rescue Again?

They say bad luck comes in threes. In my case I am certainly hopeful that this is the case. My wife and I were friends with Nancy Cooper, the woman who was murdered in Cary this week. We went to, and were married at, Virginia Tech…we all know about what happened there. Finally, we both worked at Nortel and knew Kathleen Peterson. These three events burrowed their way into the core of our otherwise idyllic lives with a force that is unimaginable unless you have have the misfortune to experience it.

In the last two instances, I was only peripherally involved in the media blitz. In this case, those of us who were close to Nancy have been sucked into the vacuum of the media’s wake. Last night’s sleepless night seemed to focus on the role, and more importantly the agenda, of the Fourth Estate.

My own view at this point is that the Media, as was the case with Virginia Tech, is more after the story they know will sell rather than respecting the devastating emotional strain that those of us who are close to Nancy are going through. You can see my rant on the Media related to Virginia Tech here.

As I said to my friends last night, the media is no longer our friend. They helped us find Nancy…now all they want is the story. Imagine what it was like for us as we watched the likes of Greta Van Susteren on TV last night talking about how much undigested food was in Nancy’s belly. I wonder if she would have had at least one iota of empathy if her dogged and detached line of questioning was was about someone she knew personally. I certainly hope so…I still have faith that at the core we are all pure, it is just life and circumstance that clouds and perverts our inherent goodness.

That being said, and after having been through the other two media blitzes, I have to ask myself what purpose does the media serve at this juncture? Feeding the voyeuristic needs of individuals who are unemotionally attached to his accident always seems to trump empathy and respect for those closest and most hurt by this event. Why?….simple, there are more of them than us and the media will serve the masses.

We are trying to take a page out of Virginia Tech’s approach. We have all agreed to remain mum on this in the hopes that our firm silence will shut down the distrubing images. Please help us by doing the same. Here, on our blog, is a copy of the media response we have prepared. Feel free to print, copy and share it within the community.

If you are a neighbor in Lochmere and didn’t know Nancy well, please join us in addressing the media in the same fashion. As we learned at VA Tech. If we shut down the speculation and focus on the facts we have a double benefit: We help those closest to Nancy to begin the healing process unencumbered by constant imagery that wreaks emotional havoc and we ensure that the facts, vetted through the police investigation, bring us to a swift conclusion.

Thanks for Reading. May the power of the Human Network quell the undue Powerof the Media Networks.

I certainly hope so for all of us who are torn apart by this traumatic incident. We all need room to breathe while the media continues to pollute our atmosphere with imagery and speculation that does nothing but throw salt on our very open wounds.

I know I will feel differently later and I understand that the media has a part to play, and is probably helping with the investigation by getting tips…but for now I had to vent based on where I sit emotionally. So apologies in advance to those of you who take the role of the fourth estate seriously and who treat all people with empathy.

Leave a comment


  1. I am so sorry to hear of all of your tragedies. Know that you are teaching all of us how it feels to have the emotional pain deepened by our collective appetite for ‘news’. It’s important for each of us to see that perspective and make choices in relationship to it.

    Thank you for speaking through your pain. Important message to us all.

  2. Andrea Conner

     /  July 21, 2008

    Being an outsider in this situation, but close enough to be affected as a resident of Lochmere and a friend of friends of Nancy, I can understand your need to vent. I had no idea that the story was on Greta’s show! I have been so shocked by all the media attention to the Nancy Cooper disappearance. Living abroad the last 7 years, I must have been in a bubble and did not realize that the USA media goes hog wild.

    I do have to say there was one benefit provided by the excessive media coverage for those of us who did not know Nancy, we missed out on getting to know a wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers are with those that have been touch my Nancy in this world during this time of healing.


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