Saturday, February 04, 2006

Lowly Local Fox 17 News To Run Report On Nashville Gang Growth Ahead Of Big 3 News Stations

I could not believe my eyes last night when I saw a Fox 17 News commercial on a report on teenage gang growth in Nashville set to run on Monday during their 9:00 broadcast. For Pete's sake, it's about time some local mainstream news outlet started reporting on gangs in Nashville, even if it has to be the runt of the litter, Fox 17 News. Let's hope that the Fox affiliate brings some quality journalistic attention to this problem and that it will motivate NewsChannel 5 (CBS), Channel 4 News (NBC), and News 2 (ABC) to start their own proactive investigations. Let's hope it does not take some sensational, tragic event afterwards for the big boys to finally wake up and take notice, in spite of the laurels Emmy Awards they sit on.


  1. I could not agree with your more. I have wondered for sometime why the local news spends so much time on stories that have nothing to do with local events. Nashville like any city has issues that need to be brought to the publics attention. A prime example is this Hope Scholarship situation. They have failed to really tell people what the truth is. I know for a fact that it has lead to many young students who are not qualified for college level work. They have been "spoon feed" for so many years that when a college professor gives an assignment they are stunned that the professor requires them to actually do the work! Of the course the REAL untold story that those students who do not qualify are helping pay for the Hope Scholarship students by either paying for school themselves or having to run up huge debts.

  2. But is it good to give the gangs the press? If I were a gang member sitting around eating my junk food and my 40s that I got from the local (needs to be shut down) market and saw there was an entire report about ME and my disfunctional "family" {flash a gang sign here} then it would encourage me to continue and would also be a road map for others on how to join… I’m not saying we just ignore them and they’ll go away but I don’t know if TV press coverage advertised for 4 days before it airs is the healthiest thing.

    Anyone want to bet on how long it takes for one of these {flash gang sign here} to get a excited over the press they just got and feel the need to fire off a round or two in the neighborhood? I say 10 minutes…

  3. It isn't good if the press reacts to this story as they do with many: with sensationalism rather than as an early warning detection system calling for response. I've already argued that journalists need to be doing hard, stealth, indepth investigative journalism that alerts citizens, police, and elected officials about social problems before they ignite and flare up.

    If the press treats this as sensational entertainment, then it might very well lead to encouraging gang members to try to "make news." But from what I've read, beating people up and shooting people also brings gang members notoriety within their own groups. So, if one of us gets shot by a gang member, does that mean that it should not be reported as news lest it encourage further killings by gang members seeking to bolster their rep? Let's take this to a whole other level: there is no doubt that news footage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks encourages other terrorists to try to copy-cat or find other means of killing Americans. Does that mean that we shouldn't have given Al Qaeda the press?

    I say that it most definitely should not mean that. What we should have done is given it the correct press. According to Tom Fenton, reporters had done stories on Al Qaeda and bin Laden before 9/11 and those stories were killed by the networks, because they weren't sexy enough. There is every chance that if Americans had been alerted by the press to Al Qaeda even as the government ignored it (red lights were going of at the CIA for two weeks before 9/11), then 9/11 might not have happened. Would it have been worth the risk of publicizing the threat of terrorism in order to alert Americans? If it could have averted 9/11, I think so.

    In the same way, if the press would do some journalism and alert our community and officials to a problem that needs attention it could avert bigger problems from snowballing out of control. The problem as is is invisible to all but those of us who are experiencing growing gang problems. And from where I sit and walk down our streets the problems are getting worse. Last year, it was one gang's graffiti on a few buildings. This year it is shooting assault weapons right behind some of our homes with rounds that can literally tear through our walls along with increased graffiti and more graffiti from a second gang. Nobody in the mainstream press has bothered to cover this problem yet, and yet, it seems to be getting progressively worse without any publicity whatsoever. And, as has already been pointed out, gang activity is neither limited to isolated urban neighborhoods nor immune from making international connections to Islamic terrorists.

    I am in agreement that bad journalism should not just give thugs publicity without initiating a hard-handed public safety response. But if Nashvillians continue to be kept in the dark about this problem, it will only get worse and there will be very little pressure put on Metro to address this problem before more bad shit happens.