Civil Rights in the Media

While journalists generally try to present truth in an unbiased fashion that is not always the case. In the 1960’s when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing many newspapers had different views and opinions about it. If you compare the headlines of major newspapers from August 28, 1963, the day thousands marched on Washington for equality, the response is shocking. Some newspapers didn’t have the march on Washington as a main story, but a side story. Other newspapers, mainly from the South, gave scathing reports about the event. One newspaper even referred to the demonstrators as black trash littering the streets of Washington. Some newspapers didn’t even realize that they were missing one of the greatest historical moments in the Civil Rights movement and focused on other news that they viewed as more important.

Even in the Washington Post, one of the newspapers that had the march on Washington as a main headline, missed a key historical event. The story focused on the march and the crowded streets and completely overlooked Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech. One of the most famous speeches in our nation’s history.

Everyone has different views and opinions which is why it is important to check multiple news sources to get the most accurate news. If we rely solely upon one news source for news then we may be missing out on some key pieces of news.

Media plays a key role in shaping news and framing it. Many reporters expected to see violence; however no fights or violence was displayed. The media coverage helped the country at large to see the protests as peaceful exercises of rights, helping progress the movement peacefully.

There is a great power in how we frame issues and present news to the public. While blacks now have many rights and freedoms the issue of race is still a problem in our nation. In the Zimmerman and Martin case a lot of the coverage was based around the issue of race. Many citizens felt that race played a significant factor in the case, while others felt the issue of race was irrelevant. No matter what our views may be on the case it is clear to see that issues of race are still prevalent. What up and coming journalists need to focus on now is how we will shape the stories we report and how we will utilize our influence for better or for worse. 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Civil Rights in the Media

  1. Pingback: Martin Luther’s Dream: How Journalism Enabled the Civil Rights Movement | strobelight

  2. Pingback: Week 10. | Thoughts on Journalism

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