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A tale of two stories

I have always wondered how editors decide which stories to run and where to place them. From observation it appears to be more art than science. In Knox County some people are puzzled by the contrast between a story from October 5th of 2004 where some shots were fired into an empty Republican Headquarters in Knoxville early in the morning and the recent news story of the attempt on the life of a Knox County Mayoral candidate.

The first story had local front-page news and reached national exposure in USA Today and other national news outlets. The second story has been under reported. Is there an implication in the under reporting of the recent news story? Or is the under reporting a signal of local media bias?

The two events have some commonality. Shots fired into a building. The difference is that in the first story no one was in the building and in the story from this Sunday the shots were fired head high into a door moments after the gunman called out, Mr. Mayor, and then fired two shots.

Like most people I thought this was more a story of intimidation rather than an attempt to kill someone. That was until I saw the pictures. The pictures tell more than the words of the story.

I am a frequent critique of the local news media. So lets stipulate that. The two stories are similar but the coverage has been different.

Why?

I can understand the urge to sell newspapers but how is a sensational event in 2004 given greater coverage than an attempt on the life of a current City Councilman and candidate for Knox County Mayor?

How much independence is there is there in the local media in Knox County? Who makes the decisions on which stories run and where they are located?

5 Responses to “A tale of two stories”

  1. Barry Says:

    My first thought – I heard this story promo’d last night on Fox 43 during “24”. After the show was over I forgot to watch the news, so later I logged in ti knoxnews.com, thinking surely they’d have something about it. It took a while to find a story finally on WATE’s website last night. What finally came to mind was that the local media might have some bit of inner knowledge the whole thing might be a hoax or a publicity stunt by Hall, and didn’t want to give the story a lot of weight.

    But then this morning I heard Hall on both Hallerin Hill and Kelvin Moxley’s programs, and to my untrained and naive ear he certainly didn’t sound like a man who had set out to hoax anyone, he sounded genuinely nervous and still pretty shaken up about the whole thing.

    Right now I’m leaning heavily toward believing what he said was just what happened, but maybe early on the media wasn’t quite as trusting.

  2. Drake Says:

    I think the 04 story being in October was more sensational because it was during the Presidential election campaign…trying to display the ‘anger’ and ‘passion’ that Bush and Kerry evoked.

    Still, I was stunned that it took me till last night on Fox43 to know Councilman Hall was fired upon. Seems a little strange it wasn’t all over the place all Monday.

  3. Pete Says:

    I wondered what would have been done if it had been another candidate. The story was definitely suppressed. This place is like a western movie. The bad guys come in and take over the whole town.

  4. Billll Says:

    The first was an attempt at voter intimidation, and rightly deserved full coverage. The second was a justifiable use of the second amendment against a tyrannical government, and the paper didn’t want to give anyone else ideas.

    PS: I have no idea who the shootee is or what town he’s mayor of. 🙂 just seems like a generic good idea.

  5. terryfrank.net » WNOX Should Apologize… at the very least Says:

    […] UPDATE: Say Uncle raises some other questions about the incident.  Read his write-up right here. […]