Thursday, January 24, 2008

Journalism Schools Begin Disecting Jena Six and Afrosphere Coverage

With the Jena Six March and the underlying injustices recognized as a significant news occurrence of 2007, journalism schools and institutes are beginning to dissect the coverage and the underlying facts to review the media's own performance. The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education studies the role of Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune in writing stories that first brought the Jena Six broad national attention. This article is positive, recounting the genesis of the story.

Raquel Christie in the American Journalism Review (January 25, 2008) attempts to write a revisionist history of the Jena Six story, alleging that although nooses were hung in a tree on public school property, nonetheless the public and media reaction to the incident may have been symptomatic of "paranoia", according to this revisionist analysis. The story quotes Keith Woods, Dean of Faculty at the Poynter Institute who says,
If we are a nation of paranoid people, we need to know that. And so if it is pure paranoia that's driving the busloads of people that drive down to Jena, some of us need to report that . . . "

We Blacks are certainly used to the suggestion that our objection to the hanging of nooses in trees on public school property amounts to "pure paranoia". We get more of this from the Raqual Christie article. However, our familiarity with the history of lynching makes it impossible for Blacks to discount fear and loathing and anger at nooses as "pure paranoia."