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…