CT Critics: “Drive-By Journalism” Can Omit Urban Murders


Activists are questioning why violent tragedies in urban centers like Hartford don’t get the same media and government attention that has surrounded the slayings of a Cheshire, Ct., mother and her daughters, the Associated Press reports. Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell called for a review of the state’s criminal justice system soon after the July 23 burglary and arson that left the three women dead. The Rev. Cornell Lewis said similar responses are needed when young people die in Connecticut’s inner cities. “If we don’t, then to me, it’s sending a double message: one type of life, beautiful and white, [is] valued. Other kinds of life are not valued.”

There have been 17 homicides in Hartford so far this year, compared wth 15 last year. Shortly before the Cheshire slayings, two teenagers were shot to death execution-style. Richard Hanley, assistant professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University, believes extensive media coverage of the Cheshire murders is justified because it happened in a small, suburban town and involved “extreme violence” over a period of hours that included sexual assaults, strangulation, arson and the beating of a well-known diabetes physician. Hanley said there is a sense that urban homicides are covered using “drive-by journalism,” in which reporters don’t spend time learning more about the victims, the suspects, and the reasons behind the violence.

Link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2007/08/14/activists_say_race_defines_crime_stories

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