TV Exec Denies Race Factor In Missing Women Tales


When a black woman, Tamika Huston, 24, didn’t come home one day last year in South Carolina, her aunt, a Miami public relations executive, failed to generate the kind of immediate public attention they had hoped for, says the Los Angeles Times. Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, says that cable television networks “go for cases that attract tabloid audiences. And tabloid audiences are traditionally more interested in what happens in the lives of rich people than middle-income people and especially poor people.”

Another explanation is a lack of newsroom diversity. Twenty-two percent of the staff of TV newsrooms and 13 percent of newspaper journalists are minorities. It may be less likely that a reporter will hear about a story emerging in a community that has less representation in the media. Mark Effron of MSNBC News Daytime Programming said stories of missing women typically bubble up from local network affiliates who are covering them based on the public outcry they generate in their home communities. “It’s not like there’s a kind of cabal where MSNBC and CNN and Fox get together and say, ‘Boy, this is a good one. That’s not a good one,’ ” he said. “Usually, there’s an involved family that tends to be sophisticated in how to use the media.” Effron declares: “We have never, ever, ever turned down a story based on race or any of those factors.”


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