Archive for September, 2007
Though I’m sitting on the campus off Georgia State University, I’m thinking about Jena Louisiana. As a journalist I wish I could be there. Mario and I have been monitoring the events closely, but our assignment there ended last Friday.
Since then the parents of Mychal Bell traveled to Washington DC to speak to members of Congress, and according to CNN, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters explained his reason for deciding not to fight a higher court’s ruling to move the case into juvenile court.
“District Attorney Reed Walters announced Thursday that he will not appeal a higher court’s decision to move the case against Mychal Bell, a black teen-ager accused of beating a white classmate in Jena, La., to juvenile court.
Walters said his decision not to appeal was based on what he believed is best for the victim in the case.”
The question is what will happen to Bell? Most folks believe he’s spent enough time behind bars. Bell’s been jailed since being arrested for the school fight last December. Everyone I’ve spoken to says there should be consequences for the students who were involved in the beat down; it is the severity of the charges that most people are opposed to.
As America continues to watch the developments, I can’t help but to think about what a special time it is to be involved in media. Bloggers, journalists, and activists can now share information via the Internet. At the same time it is very important to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.
In journalism accuracy, and fairness is the foundation, but the same rules don’t apply in the blogoshere. Responsible bloggers however must continue to share information about important events, because sometimes the mainstream is slow to catch on.
In this case most news outlets have shed light on this controversy, and though the kind folks in Jena are probably sick and tired of all the attention, it is well deserved. The more people talk about it, the more we all will have a better understanding of the problems in America’s sometimes unjust justice system, and the media is a vital piece of the puzzle. These are just my thoughts.
You know what I’m looking for…
The body of Nailah Franklin has been found according to the Associated Press.
A drug sales representative who disappeared last week was found dead near a forest preserve, not far from where her car was abandoned, her uncle said Thursday.
This isn’t the way anyone wanted this story to end. Hopefully authorities will find her killer, and her family will find peace.
PHOTO CREDIT: AP
Next to working in news, I enjoy teaching others about media. This past Tuesday, Mario Page and I visited Bryant Primary and Intermediate Schools to talk to students about working in the news business.
We were invited by Mr. Sean Splawski, who teaches the first grade. Though the students were young, they paid attention, and even asked some great questions.
I love the classroom. I got my first taste of the teaching in 2001, when I started working as an adjunct instructor at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa. The experience motivated me to go grad school to get my Masters, which I’m close to completing.
Now, instead of just talking to students about field reporting, and live shots, I also share what I’m learning about blogging, and podcasting.
I told the students that by blogging they can write and report on things going on in their lives, and share their experiences with the world. It is always a great feeling to share a little knowledge.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mario Page
The Associated Press is reporting that LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters won’t challenge the appellate ruling that sends the Mychal Bell case to juvenile court. The news comes from Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco’s office.
LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters had earlier said he would appeal the state appeals court’s decision that 17-year-old Mychal Bell’s second-degree battery conviction be set aside. The court ruled that Bell could not be tried as an adult.
Blanco said she had spoken with Walters and asked him to reconsider pushing to keep the case in the adult courts system. She said Walters contacted her Wednesday to say he had decided not to appeal the ruling.
“I want to thank him for this decision he has made,” Blanco said.
Looks like there’s a little political pressure coming from the Gov.
My Urban Report has been down due to bandwidth limitations. The issues are being resolved. Stay tuned.
U.S. COAST GUARD ACADEMY DEALS WITH NOOSE INCIDENTS
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Boston is expanding race relations training after two separate incidents involving nooses. One was found in a black cadet’s bag on July 15.
The second appeared in the office of a white female officer who conducted a race relations training class after the first incident.
INCREASED SECURTY FOR JENA 6 FAMILIES
Authorities in Jena Louisiana are keeping a close eye on the families of the Jena six after a racist web site posted the addresses and phone numbers of the families last Thursday.
The web site reportedly featured racial slurs, a swastika, and the personal info was posted, “in case anyone wants to deliver justice.”
SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING CHICAGO BUSINESSWOMAN
Federal authorities are helping in the search for 28-year-old Nailah Franklin who was reported missing on Sept. 19.
Her car has been recovered, and Chicago police are going to use high tech equipment from the FBI to continue the search.