Thursday, April 9, 2009

The dead girl in the suitcase

So I been seeing the coverage of this little girl all over MSNBC, CNN, all those channels i happen to flip by and stop on occasionally for 2 to 5 minutes, and i read a little article today in the Herold Journal. The article in the paper is not what i want to talk about, its short and sweet, and talks about how the family is going through "hell" and showing a little sympathy. But at the same time there is a quote from the uncle saying how the whole family is trying to not watch TV and stay away from all the hype and accusations right now. Which I would totally understand, not only was the daughter killed and missing, but now they found her and are putting it all over the media how she was found dead in a suitcase which is a little graphic but maybe neccessary. But the thing i dont like is if the Herold Journal can get through for a quote, this poor family's phones are probably ringing off the hook! TV stations, papers, whoever, it's hot right now and i feel bad for the family who is probably just dying to get this attention moved away from them.


  1. Murdered children are always news. The press has a responsibility to cover the stories -- if not, they're accused (rightly) of sweeping real news under the carpet.

    However, the press has an obligation to treat victims of tragedy, with crime or natural disaster, with dignity.

    One more thing: The story you read in the Herald Journal was a short Associated Press version of a much bigger story -- here's the CNN version.

    Notice the dateline on the HJ's story -- it says it originated in California, and has an AP credit line. That tells readers it was not written by a local reporter. The Herald Journal didn't phone in for a quote. Like most of the media, it relied on a news service for the story.

  2. I had a friend whose borther died in Mexico while he was on his mission and the news was all over that. They were interviewed by TV stations and all sorts of stuff. I worked with this girl at the time and went over to offer to take her shift while she mourned the loss of her brother. She and her other family members were all gathered together in the living room while people milled in and out of the house offering condolances. I thought they handled it very well and though I'm sure it wasn't as tragic as finding your daughter murdered and discarded, it was very traumatic. I think everyone has their own way of handling this sort of thing, but either way, the media does have a right to give this information to the public. The family obviously suffers, but who's to say that they wouldn't be suffering just as badly if they were left to mourn alone as when the media covers it?

  3. I agree with Sean. I think that it would be very hard for the family to go through this and to think of all of the small town newspapers that are trying to get a quote for their papers. It is sad but it is something that happens.

  4. Again: Small town newspapers do not have the resources to send reporters out to "get a quote" on big stories like this one.

    Those quotes in the small town papers come from the Associated Press (wire service) reports, which the small papers subscribe to. The idea that papers pay reporters to travel hundreds of miles away and pester the families of victims to get quotes is a figment of the imagination.

    There may be a lot of press hovering around the family for the story, but it is LOCAL press. California press.

    And most of that press is NOT small town newspapers such as the Herald Journal, which, as I said before, picked up the story Sean originally commented on from Associated Press.

    Journalists have an obligation to treat victims of crime or catastrophe with humanity and care. This story is emphatically not a case of "small town newspapers" abusing victims by badgering them for quotes.