Your View: Ferguson Coverage

2 years 11 months 4 days ago Friday, December 19 2014 Dec 19, 2014 Friday, December 19, 2014 4:28:00 PM CST December 19, 2014 in Your View
By: Rachel Wittel and Anders Aarhus, KOMU 8 Reporters
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COLUMBIA - Following the grand jury's decision to not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, KOMU 8 created a timeline to highlight events from the day of the incident to the ensuing protests.

But once KOMU 8 posted the story on its Facebook page, many viewers felt this was only "stirring the pot" by continuing the Ferguson conversation.

"This is not news," Michael Rogers commented on Facebook. "You're rehashing information. As a journalist who had to learn the craft back when I was going for the same degree, I realize that students have to be learning (and doing) something to that end. That said, are you that bored over there in the studio/newsroom that you decided that stirring the pot once again is a good idea? This timeline adds nothing to the discussion, and it's been done repeatedly." 

KOMU 8 News Director Randy Reeves said while the timeline might not have provided new information, it's important to give context.

"One of the biggest mistakes a TV newsroom or any news organization can do is assuming its readers or viewers understand everything that's happened in a big story," Reeves said. "So, we use a timeline to make sure you do."

Another viewer said KOMU 8 covered the case too much.

"KOMU – enough already!!!!!" Nancee Farrar commented. "This whole Michael Brown story was hyped up by the media, untrue facts were repeated and unhapy misinformed people were inviting more unhappy and equally misinformed people on camera to come and riot. Is there no other news to report? Is this ratings week?? Seriously?????"

MU Sociology Professor Victoria Johnson said some viewers might feel this way because of the structure of today's media and culture.

"Especially now with 250 channels, it seems like attention spans get shorter," Johnson said. "People aren't as willing to deal with really serious issues that take a lot of time and complex thinking." 

She said news organizations can also be part of the problem when it comes to nationally recognized cases like this one.

"It's the lack of going more in-depth with other experts other than political officials," Johnson said. "When something happens like a riot or something unusual occurs, you go to the authorities. You go to the police. You go to the military. You go to political officials, and that's kind of considered the legitimate narrative."

What do you think about KOMU 8's coverage of the story? Was the timeline covering events in Ferguson unnecessary?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter, or email us at news@komu.com. Then watch KOMU 8 News at Six on Fridays to see your view of the news.

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