Media Create 'Hierarchy of Murder.'
Troph, Shonna, St. Louis Journalism Review
During an average year, approximately 200 murders are committed in the St. Louis metropolitan area. In 1997, the last year for which records are complete, 153 murders occurred. But, not every murder is covered by the media. This means a kind of "hierarchy of murder" is used in the media's daily reporting. This different treatment of murders has drawn criticism, especially from the African-American community.
"We are particularly aware of violent crimes that involve African Americans," says Alvin A. Reid, news editor of the St. Louis American. "But we don't cover every single murder that occurs - we just can't."
Many of the media view their coverage of murders as complete and fair. But, often the public feels the media overemphasize murders involving blacks and underemphasize victims, especially African-American victims. Some of the public also feels the media have a total disregard for the feelings of the victim's family, whose lives are torn apart by such crimes.
"The media have a much different treatment for black crimes than for white crimes," says James Buford, president of the St. Louis Urban League. "They show absolutely no selectivity when covering murders involving blacks - they just cover them all. But that's not the case when covering crimes with white persons. There is very low …
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Publication information: Article title: Media Create 'Hierarchy of Murder.'. Contributors: Troph, Shonna - Author. Magazine title: St. Louis Journalism Review. Volume: 29. Issue: 14 Publication date: March 1999. Page number: 1+. © 1999 SJR St. Louis Journalism Review. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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