Power of one pen

Adam Nagourney of The New York Times demonstrated the power of one reporter and one video this week with his story about defiant rancher Cliven Bundy’s racist remarks suggesting blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton. The New York Times was late to the story of Bundy’s refusal to follow federal grazing laws and…

The factoring of race into Stand Your Ground legislation

BY EVETTE DIONNE / Several prominent Stand Your Ground cases in Florida are raising questions about how the American media are covering race and intimate-partner violence. Michael Giles, a former Air Force member, who is black, shot and wounded three patrons outside a nightclub on Feb 6, 2010. Marissa Alexander, 34, a black mother of three, fired a warning shot at her husband on Aug. 3, 2010. George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic volunteer neighborhood watchman, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 21, 2012. Michael Dunn, a white male, shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis on Nov. 23, 2012. These four cases serve as flashpoints for examining Stand Your Ground legislation, and, more specifically, how media are covering these cases.

St. Louis acts to address wrongful arrests

The St. Louis Police Department has instituted a new mobile fingerprint identification system in its North, South and Central Area Stations, as well as at the St. Louis City Justice Center, to help avoid wrongful arrests, according to Chief Sam Dotson. The new fingerprint technology was put into the stations after a series in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last year maintaining that about 100 people had been arrested mistakenly over a seven-year period, serving a total of 2,000 days in jail.

Roth’s letter to readers: Decide for yourselves

Joseph Pulitzer uttered three words that occupy an even more exalted place in the ideals of the working journalist than the poetry of his Platform: “Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy,” he said. The prize that bears Mr. Pulitzer’s name embeds in its rules another pre-eminent value of professional journalism: fairness. The Post-Dispatch has fallen woefully short of these standards. Its editors approved publication of reports that are grossly unfair, that are full of errors and that fundamentally misrepresent the system of criminal suspect identification in St. Louis.

Reporters get ethics, law wrong in vacated murder sentence

When Ryan Ferguson was released from prison Nov. 12 where he had been serving time for the murder of a newspaper sports editor, television journalists from across the country swooped down on Columbia, Mo., home of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. The big story provided a teaching moment for one professor, concerned about accuracy, media ethics and the appearance of objectivity. A lesson was to be learned, too, about convergence, and how an event can be transformed or amplified by the various forms of media buzzing around it.

Hoping a new media sensitivity might emerge from the Newtown tragedy

Soon after tragedy struck a sleepy New England town more than one year ago, residents of Newtown, Ct., vowed the place they called home would be an epicenter for change. There needed to be changes in gun laws, some cried out. Others advocated for a national movement to increase school security. A need for better mental health counseling became a topic of conversation in homes and coffee shops among the town’s 26,000 residents. More subtle and in the undertones, there also were pleas for Newtown to be the epicenter of change in how stories of mass shootings and grief are covered.