Why It Took Weeks for Martin Case to Reach TV Soap-Opera Status


Why did it take major news media 10 days to pick up on Florida’s Trayvon Martin shooting? Howard Kurtz did a segment on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on how “the story that almost no one bothered to cover has become America’s newest media obsession.” The biggest nearby local newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel, had cut half of its staff in Sanford, where the case took place, says Lauren Ashburn of Daily-Download.com. Kurtz noted that the first story on the shooting by the Sentinel was only four paragraphs “devoted to what is now considered a national outrage.”

Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times says there was not much coverage at first because the police “at first backed up (shooter) George Zimmerman’s story.” Deggans added, “It wasn’t until [Martin’s family members] started speaking out to the press, which took about a week, that’s when you started to see the national stories.” Ashburn credits social media for some of the coverage, saying, “You see advocacy groups, like Change.org, which started the petition that now has 1.8 million signatures calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman.” After President Obama commented that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, the case has “reached some sort of TV soap opera status,” Kurtz says.

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