Will it end? Or perhaps the better the question is when will it end? A cat from my hometown was asked the same question during a news report back in the day and said, “I guess it’s gone end when I die.”
It seems to be a sad but true reality for some. The sports world and everyone else is trying to understand how and why someone broke into Sean Taylor’s Miami home to kill him.
Those who know the slain football player’s story want folks to understand that this isn’t a story about a kid from the hood who couldn’t shake his ghetto past.
It doesn’t end there. I learned from BeFrank’s blog that Latasha Norman’s body has been found. She was a missing college student from Mississippi, and her ex-boyfriend has been charged with the murder.
Finally, if you haven’t heard, Rodney King, yes that King from the infamous LA police beat down has been shot. No, he isn’t dead, but according to reportssomeone blasted him in the face and body with a shot gun when he refused to give up his bike. That’s the story he gave police at least. If it’s true, it sounds like a dope fiend move.
You all know I try to keep it positive and thoughtful on My Urban Report, and people need to learn to put down the guns, and pick up a book. As my brother rhymes, there are “two simple choices, education or the streets.” You can have it anyway you want it.
“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” If you turn on your local news you know what the answer is. The news more often than not reminds us of all that is wrong in our community and world.
I’ve often heard people ask, “Why isn’t there any good news on TV?” The reality is, there are plenty of good things happening all over, and these stories sometimes make it to the airwaves.
For example, in Atlanta, there’s a gentleman who is teaching kids life skills through the game of chest. His name is Orrin Hudson, and this guy is serious about what he does. Hudson is a former Alabama State Trooper who started a non-profit called Be Someone. To say that teaching youngsters how to play chess is his passion, is almost an understatement.
Hudson knows about my media background, and every time I see him he asks me, “Amani, what can I do to take my program to the next level. I want to get the word out.” The thing is he’s doing a great job. The media loves his story. All of the local TV stations have covered his chess workshops, he’s been in a bunch of newspapers, and when he takes his show on the road, the media shows up.
Getting a positive story covered in news can be an uphill battle though. Why? Because of human nature, people are naturally drawn to the unusual. We pay attention to discord, conflict, and drama. Think about your morning commute. You might deal with a fair amount of traffic which could slow you down, but if there’s an accident what happens? Cars stop. Is it the flashing lights, the sight of mangled metal, or just the curiosity of what happened?
Years ago, newspaper publishers figured out that sex, scandal, and murder gets people’s attention. It’s no different in broadcast news. Plus, stories involving crime are usually easy to cover. At any murder scene there will be investigators, yellow tape, flashing lights, a body. There are investigators to interview, and family members of the slain victim. If the family won’t talk, there will surely be a neighbor who will offer up some kind of sound. “This is a quiet neighborhood, something like this never happens.” It’s like clockwork. There’s your lead story at six o’clock.
The Louisiana Weekly recently posted a column by Robert Taylor that addresses some of these issues. Taylor suggests that positive stories will come out of community building and good will.
The starting point for eventually generating positive news coverage is by doing positive things. Thus, the following should become our New Year’s resolutions: Starting in 2008, you are to do something unexpectedly nice or constructive for someone or some group once a month, every month for the entire year. Secondly, you are to correct at least one wrong each month. We have all made mistakes or failed to do something we should have done. The correction may range from an apology to paying a debt to a friend or family member.
If nothing else that idea could create a greater sense of community, and unity. I’ll direct your attention back to Orrin Hudson. He always seems amazed by the media interest he generates. I’m not as surprised. When it comes down to it, news editors, management, and reporters like the same thing, a good story; it’s just harder to get their attention from the car wreck that’s slowing you down from reaching your goal.
This evening, CNN will bring you the second edition of the web 2.0 styled presidential debate that includes questions from the public.
The first CNN/YouTube debate was fun to watch, so this time around I figured I’d submit a question of my own. The only problem is, I missed the deadline. My question is posted below for your viewing pleasure.
Some people may call it an epidemic. Cities across America are facing a similar plague. Black males are dropping out of school at an alarming rate. Some reports indicate that as many as 50 percent of Black male students aren’t graduating from high school. That’s not good.
The young men are less employable, prone to turn to illegal business, and are more likely to end up incarcerated. Sadly, Ice Cube’s lyrics “Why more [brothas] in jail, than in college,” ring so true.
Go to any college campus and you’ll see the effects… Black women now outnumber black males 2 to 1. This education gap translates to employment, economic disparities, and I’d guess there’s a correlation involving drop out rates and crime.
What to do, what to do?
Kennesaw State University is hosting a first ever, two-day best practices conference to discuss solutions. The goal is to enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation of Black males within Georgia’s public colleges and universities.
More than 250 people including students, educators, and special guests are taking part in this initiate. Speakers include author Kevin Powel, Jeff Johnson BET host/activist, and Dr. William Cox, president and CEO, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
The conference will take place Friday Sept 30, and Saturday December 1, at Kennesaw State University.
20-year-old Natasha Norman has been missing since November 13; however, the story has hardly received the same kind of attention as the high profile Stacy Peterson case. In recent news reports, Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin believes that race is a factor.
As far as the interest by the national media in the story, I think race probably had an impact,” said McMillin, who is white. “It’s a small college in the South. It’s the daughter of simple people who maybe are not important outside of their circle, and maybe we don’t attach the same importance to them that we do for other people.
While race could be an issue in the lack of media attention in the Norman case, the Peterson situation is probably of interest for the national media for a couple of reasons. Stacy Peterson’s husband Drew is a former police officer, and police believe he may have been involved in the death of his third wife. It seems suspicious all the way around.
That isn’t to say that one missing person should be given priority over another. It’s just that media attention often focuses on the most scintillating story… Natalie Holloway is another example.
As far as the Norman story, there are few details in the case other than she was last seen in a class at Jackson State University, her car was left on campus, her ex-boyfriend has been charged with hitting her last month, but he hasn’t been named a suspect.
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