Monday, Aug. 18, 2008

Covering Jam For Peace

By Evan Rytlewski
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Those who've read this blog for a while probably know the drill by now: After a predominantly black music festival, I call out the local media for exaggerating and dwelling on whatever incidents of violence occurred (usually my harshest critiques are reserved for coverage of the Juneteenth celebration, an event far safer than local media depicts it).

There isn't too much to complain about regarding coverage of this weekend's V100.7 Jam For Peace concert, though. From the trails that I can find online, only one major outlet covered the few brawls and arrests that followed the show, CBS-58, and the stark footage the station filmed did appear newsworthy. It's likely other outlets would have also run with the story had they had similar footage (as Dennis Shook reported in phenomenal Shepherd cover story last year, local TV news coverage decisions are heavily dictated by available footage-no footage, no story.) To be sure, though, you could film a crowd leaving just about any well-attended Bradley Center event and capture a similarly chaotic scene.

A couple channels over, Fox 6 covered the concert with a live, community-feel-good story that focused on the event's peaceful message. And the Journal Sentinel, at least online, didn't even brief the post-show altercations. It did, however, run a respectful (albeit critical) review of the concert.

All in all, not bad for a city with a sorry history of fear-mongering.

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