Saturday, August 06, 2005

Will Things Change With the Media?

Tonight I watched the segment on Dateline NBC on missing minorities, which featured missing Tamika Huston, from Spartanburg, SC.

In the segment, statistics were presented may have shocked many viewers. Most missing are men, and 30% are black. You wouldn't know it from the media coverage, would you?

Neil Shapiro, President of NBC News, said "We have to do better." in response to learning about the disparity of the coverage. He was the only network executive who agreed to be interviewed for the story.

I'm getting a feeling of deja vu right about now.

When the last case spotlighted in the national media achieved what I call the "saturation point", I wrote to the local media in the hometown of that missing person.

I challenged them to feature other persons who are missing right there in their own community alongside of the one getting major national coverage. I even gave them the links to both the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Center for Missing Adults search features, so that they would know how to look up other missing persons in their area.

I even went as far as to list three missing persons for them. I did research on these persons on the Internet, and could find no news stories. One of the three had a family website devoted to the missing girl, in which they begged the media to help them. I added this information to my query as well.

Out of 4 TV stations and 2 newspapers, only one TV station responded. They told me they did cover missing person stories. I did a search of their site, and only found some coverage on one other person. It was not the one whose family was begging for help.

When the USA Today ran the article about lack of coverage for missing males, in which I was interviewed, I had high hopes for change.

I did three press releases after that for missing adult males, mentioning this coverage, and had not one response.

While three failed attempts is not neccesarily an indicator of a lack of change of attitude, one must wonder.

Something good did come of those failures, and that is this blog.

We'll go in the back door to get attention for these families. We'll crawl in any open window, and we'll scale a ladder that rises high above the ground to accomplish what we must.

Who will listen?

Neil, are you out there? I'm counting on you to keep your word. There is more than just one missing person out there.

And oh, how I wish that was not true.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admire your dedication to helping families of missing children. I am powerless to help you in regards to getting things going in the media, but I agree with you 100% that something needs to change.

The best of luck with your project.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

Thank you.

If we all work together, we can bring about change. Look at how the bloggers in PA helped the case of Latoyia Figueroa make national news.

Kelly

1:31 AM  
Anonymous alonie walton said...

my daughter lisa michell hatchell has been missing since 7-19-03. i reported it 2 weeks after searching for her. they responded that they didn't have time to look for every drug addicted person that goes missing. i even informed them that the nehibors sted that the last time they seening her, she was in a terrible fight with her live in boyfriend. they said to me unless i come up with a body, there was nothing they could do. it took me 2 years to get them to take a report. now that they have a file on her and an assigned det. these case is just is just sitting on her desk. she is missing from philadelphia pa.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

Alonie,

Please write to us at assistance@projectjason.org. I cannot locate any information online about your daughter. Your anonymous comment does not allow me to respond back to you. We would like to help.

Kelly Jolkowski,
Project Jason

1:13 PM  

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