Violence, art and the media’s responsibilities

Journalists from a number of Boston news organizations will gather this Thursday evening for a panel discussion about the media’s role and responsibilities in covering urban violence.

Part of the exhibit “Anonymous Boston,” which documents the lives of young murder victims and how the media covered their deaths, the discussion will be held at the Fourth Wall Project, near Kenmore Square, at 132 Brookline Ave. The panel is titled “If It Bleeds, It Leads: The Role of Media in Urban Violence.” I will have the honor of moderating.

The exhibit is the subject of this week’s cover story in the Boston Phoenix by Chris Faraone. As you will see, the families of murder victims say the loss of their children is often compounded by sensational, inaccurate media coverage and by hateful online comments.

The Boston Herald is singled out by several people as a particularly egregious offender. Morever, Joanna Marinova-Jones, the community activist who has overseen the exhibit, is in the midst of a libel suit against the Herald. Despite those facts (or maybe because of them), I’m hoping the Herald will accept our invitation for what is intended as a substantive, civil conversation.

Participants who have already confirmed include Boston Globe city editor Steve Smith, Bay State Banner executive editor Howard Manly, WGBH Radio (89.7 FM) senior investigative reporter Phillip Martin, El Planeta managing editor Marcela Garcia, pioneering African-American television reporter Sarah Ann Shaw and Faraone.

The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

5 thoughts on “Violence, art and the media’s responsibilities

  1. Nancy Mades

    I have a hard time finding credibility in anything Chris Faraone writes or says after listening to him on a radio station at 7:20 this morning discussing his coverage of anti-Israeli sentiments amongst the Occupy Boston croud. First he humbly reported that he’s “just a local reporter” and not really qualified to comment on the Israeli/”Palestinian” conflict, but then he immediately commented on it by stating that in his opinion the Occupy Boston forces were not adequately organized enough to get the message out that “Pro-Palestinian speech isn’t necessarily antisemitic.” There are many who believe that pro-Palestinian speech is inherently antisemitic given the Palestinian credo that the state of Israel should cease to exist. Clearly he feels he is qualified to make statements on the conflict and his coverage is obviously guided by his opinion on the matter.

  2. Mike Benedict

    @Nancy: Isn’t is possible that one could be against the state of Israel where it currently resides yet not be against Jews as a people?

    (Before anyone tries to drag me into the mud, I’m arguing a hypothetical here; I’m not saying that’s my viewpoint.)

  3. Nancy Mades

    @Mike: Also, my real point wasn’t whether individuals have a right to hold particular beliefs about Israel (of course they do whether I agree with them or not). I’m commenting that a reporter who says he’s just a local guy and not qualified to offer insight on an international matter is being disingenuous when in the next breath he offers insight which displays his obvious bias.

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