Monday, July 21, 2008

About 5 or 6 times a year, there are stories publicized about an infant either missing or murdered. Sometimes the father commits the murder, sometimes the mother does it, and sometimes its just a mysterious mess that plays on through the media for months on end. The families of these victims always seem to make it on the news, and I feel sorry for them, because no one deserves to go through that. For days and days the story is covered, and each day, the family looks more and more worn down and sad. Sometimes they don't even want to be interviewed, but they don't want to prematurely stop what they've started either.

This weekend in a Northeast section of Washington DC called Trinidad, there was a shooting spree that left young and old residents dead and injured. It was so bad, that for the second time this year, the police department saw fit to have vigilant checkpoints in that neighborhood. You can't get in or out unless you have sufficient proof that you either live or have business in that neigborhood. Some residents have filed suit against the DC police department saying that this is unconstitutional and pointless. When the checkpoints are there, no violence goes down. As soon as the leave, the violence restarts.

Now I'm not saying that a baby disappearing or dying is less or more important that what's happening about 15 minutes away from my apartment in DC. But if I am producer for the Today show, or Good Morning American, or NBC Nightly News, and I am ratings hungry, don't you want to go for the more controversial, lesser heard story of what's going on in DC? Or do I want to go for the heart tugging story of a child murdered or missing? Or damn, why can't we give both equal shine? Perhaps I am being naive here, but I don't think so. I'd just like a different approach to the coverage of stories that's all. I think I'm making sense, and I don't think that's too much to ask. There seems to be a laziness and a lack of imagination in terms of how to cover and find news stories.

I refrained from introducing the racial element here, I'm sure you can read in between the lines.


Chubbs said...


but you're right. Today Show seems to only touch upon "local" city news when it's bizarre (i.e. DC resident eats the head off his dog) or when a baby is stolen. Stolen baby stories are ratings gems. The more gruesome the better.

Janelle said...

For some reason shock and awe is all that matters. But what other filter would be effective to gather local news that has national merit??? That's what these "journalists" rather producers need to figure out.