Should The National Media Cover Rekia Boyd?


For weeks, the Trayvon Martin case has been a top story for major news network programs. MSNBC, BET, and CNN have aired specials dedicated to the case. [Headline News host Nancy Grace saw a ratings bump from covering the teenager's death.] Additionally, there have been rallies held and a "one million hoodie" movement promoted to increase awareness about the case. But there is another tragic incident which has drawn outrage with activists in Chicago: the shooting death of 22 year-old Rekia Boyd. It has left some wondering if her case will get the same coverage that Martin has received.

Rekia Boyd
On March 21, Boyd was hit in the head by shots fired from an off-duty Chicago police officer; she died from her injuries 36 hours later. 

Since then, police officials have acknowledged that Boyd was not the intended target and was unarmed. The woman's family and friends have aligned with civil rights leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson to stir up support for a federal investigation into her death. Yet, it leaves open the idea that the same national news coverage which propelled the Trayvon Martin case to a more visible platform could benefit Boyd as well. 

Former television reporter Amani Channel believes that such a task will be difficult unless the national assignment editors see something unique. While working in the industry, he covered stories for CNN, HLN, and Fox News in addition to working for the Fox affiliate in Tampa. Thus, he knows firsthand how news stories get selected or rejected.

 "You have to remember that the even the Trayvon Martin case was largely ignored at first," the 37 year-old journalism instructor said. "As more people raise attention to an issue, there is a greater chance that the [national media] will cover it."

But the young woman's killing has not been given much local attention. Only a few media outlets have been providing regular coverage about Rekia Boyd including The Chicago Defender, WLS-TV, and Huffington Post. In turn, the likelihood of this death investigation being presented to a national audience becomes slim to none. 

Still, family members and friends continue to protest and rally until they see progress with the investigation. 

Funeral services for Boyd will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, April 3) at St. Columbanus Catholic Church on 71st and Calumet in Chicago at 6 P.M.

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