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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) – The deaths of Virginia news reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward are even felt here in North Texas, on college campuses where journalism students are learning.

“Everybody has the same reaction, and that is absolute horror that two young journalists are murdered in cold blood,” says Tony Pederson, professor and chair of SMU’s journalism department.

However, they understand that as journalists and journalists in training, being the public’s messengers is never a guarantee of safety.

“Journalists know there’s always risk to what we do. We typically don’t think journalists will face that kind of danger here in the United States, and usually we don’t,” Pederson says.

Going forward, SMU professors might give thought to including some self protection lessons in their curriculum. But Pederson says journalists were never armed during his time in the field, except on special assignments overseas.

There have been so many shootings at movie theaters and school campuses, Pederson says it’s doubtful any gun laws will change, even in light of the deaths today.

Staff at UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism say they’ve discussed the shootings in depth with students today. They hope it will act as a learning experience for them.

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