Blogs | Ethan Shorey

Local reporters dominate the national coverage

Count me as one who loves this piece from Mother Jones. I've long felt this way when watching national coverage of major events, but the story from James West puts it so well in evaluating the reporting on the horrific Charleston shooting.

"This heroic local newsroom is dominating breaking national coverage."

The local reporters know the church and its people like no one in the national television media could ever hope to, and they're offering an deep perspective that would otherwise be lost.

"Meanwhile, the Post and Courier, Charleston's major daily newspaper - winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize - seized its hometown story immediately, posting an article just before 10 p.m. the night of the shooting," writes West. "It hasn't stopped pumping out sensitively reported articles from deep within the affected community since that first notice. The paper assigned somewhere between a half and two-thirds of its newsroom of 80 people to the task of covering the unfolding story, trying to patch reporters in on shifts as much as possible to keep them from burning out in the field. After covering the death of Walter Scott two months ago, the newsroom was experienced in switching into high gear, 'though you're never quite prepared for any of these things,' Mitch Pugh, the newspaper's executive editor, told me on Friday."

The truth is that the idea of local newspaper coverage being better extends far beyond the gripping national stories. I can't tell you how many Breeze stories have been picked up by a TV station and redone as a sound bite or snippet, with the personalities, perspective, the background understanding often nowhere to be found.


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