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Pepperdine Journalism Student Reacts To Thousand Oaks Shooting


Last night, Madeleine Carr had plans to join friends at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. But her roommate had too much homework, and so they stayed in. Carr is a junior at Pepperdine University in California. She is also news editor at the university paper. She told me it was around 11:40 p.m. when she got a text from another reporter with the paper saying there had been a mass shooting at the bar Carr was supposed to be at.

MADELEINE CARR: I was just about to go to bed when I saw it and knew right then that I was not going to be getting any sleep at all.

KELLY: I mean, have you had any time to process any of this, that you would have been there last night?

CARR: It's happening in bits and pieces. I've been up all night trying to help with reporting, so it's been kind of interesting because I've been very kind of separated from it at this point. Now that, like, we have a full newsroom and people are calling and texting me to ask how I am, it's kind of making it more real. We're a close-knit university, so I think this is particularly really hitting us hard.

KELLY: Is this the first big tragedy you've had to cover as a journalist?

CARR: It's the first one that I've firsthand covered. I - so I'm originally from Boston, and what got me into journalism was actually the Boston Marathon bombing. And so I got to talk to community members at my school at the time who had been at the bombing. And I wrote a small piece, and that's what got me into journalism.

KELLY: I'm struck just talking to you - you're still so young - that you've had a journalism career bookended by being in high school, covering the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and now here you are, a college student at Pepperdine and covering a mass shooting that unfolded not far from your campus.

CARR: Yeah.

KELLY: Yeah. You talked about being - feeling separated from what's going on. That was your word. And I want to ask you about that because I know, having covered more tragedies than I care to remember as a reporter at this point, there is that moment where you have to push the natural human emotion not out of your mind but to the back of your mind 'cause you have a job to do. Is that what it's felt like these last few hours?

CARR: I think so. I didn't have time to think about the implications for, like, myself and, like, something more personal I guess. I mean, I definitely felt the implications for the community, which is, like - it was why I was doing it and why I wanted to stay up all night covering. But like, going into today, it's - I think it's starting to feel a little more personal as there's prayer services and classes that are being canceled or students that aren't - they're just consoling each other. You can't go anywhere on campus right now without feeling the presence of what happened last night.

KELLY: So what does the rest of your day look like? You'll be in the newsroom trying to coordinate the coverage? Will you print a special edition, or have you thought that far ahead?

CARR: I believe we're trying to get a special edition together. Right now we're still waiting to hear about Alaina Housley, the student...

KELLY: This is the one who was confirmed that she was there last night, and nobody's heard from her since.

CARR: Yes. Yes, and no one's heard from her. And she's a girl from my dorm, so...

KELLY: So you know her.

CARR: ...It's - yeah, I've interviewed her for a few pieces that I've done for our newspaper. And so I got - I interacted with her within the house, and I talked to her for the interviews. I wouldn't say I was, like, a friend, but I did know her. She was - she's really sweet.

KELLY: Well, Madeleine Carr, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I'm going to let you get off the line and get back to your reporting. Thank you for it.

CARR: Thank you.

KELLY: Madeleine Carr - she's a junior studying journalism, and she is news editor of the university paper at Pepperdine University. After we spoke with Carr, the family of Alaina Housley, Carr's dormmate who had been missing after going to the Borderline Bar, confirmed that Ms. Housley was among the victims. She was 18. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.