I am in this class entitled Current Issues in Mass Communications where we talk about media and the future of media and how it affects how we live our lives now and in the future. Well, there has been one issue that has been on my mind lately and it's about the media coverage of Ferguson.
We all know (or should now) what someone means when they say "Ferguson." It is the place in Missouri where unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed in August of 2014. Some credible news outlets that are known for their outstanding reporting and storytelling telling were irresponsible when it came to coverage of the incident. News organizations such as The New York Times called Mr. Brown "no angel" other news outlets such as CNN didn't even bother to consider the issue as breaking news or didn't cover the story right when it happened. According to the Pew Research Center, it took a full two days for any cable networks to mention the issue and its growing concern on the nation.
Bystanders and citizens of the entire United States got the news out on Twitter way before anyone else did. By anyone else I am talking about our news organizations that we rely on for our news. Many people do look to social media for news, which is a whole different story, but it's these people who are actually getting the story right. In the journalism world we call them citizen journalists. These are the people shooting videos of real events, such as the case with Eric Garner in New York.
Phones have allowed people to be journalists themselves and news sources have to step up in order to confirm the claims made on social media.
When the Stonewall riots happened in the late 1960s as an initiator of the gay rights movement, the same thing happened. The New York Times choose to use sensationalized words to describe the drag queens and other LGBT individuals, and news stories made it seem like the police were the victims instead of the perpetrators. Stories were often in the back of the paper, so people hardly saw them and they rarely inserted the voices of the LGBT community.
It's surprising that we have come so far with equal rights for all in this country, yet we still have further to go. For news outlets that have millions relying on you to produce fair and truthful news, I have two words for you, "Do Better." I know you can.
How Mainstream Media Failed In Ferguson