-Letters to the Editor Live-
*Forum begins at 5 minute mark*
A discussion at WVON’s Legacy Room in early April revealed the challenges journalists face in covering police-involved shootings. Rarely do we get to walk through the minds of the men and women who report the facts that inform our perspective and now, these points of view are more relevant than ever. As details around the police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling continue to hit our news feeds, I’m reminded of how reporters spend countless hours poring through contradictory ‘facts’ with a fine-toothed comb. The problem is the comb is most often handed to them by local police departments and that’s when things get hairy.
“The problem for us at the very beginning of the investigation is we don’t know what’s real and what’s not.” -Frank Main
Before the Laquan Mcdonald case, Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden‘s stories were taken at face value but as Mary Mitchell explains in the video below, things have changed.
“The…Laquan McDonald case shamed media, but it also educated us.” -Mary Mitchell
The Chicago SunTimes held the community forum, Letters to the Editor Live, in Chatham April 12th at the WVON Legacy Room in an effort to understand how to improve reporting for the south and west sides of Chicago. The plan for the series is to hold forums in different Chicago neighborhoods throughout the year to ensure each community’s story is being told. Midday host Perri Small welcomed SunTimes publisher editor-in-chief Jim Kirk, who moderated the discussion at WVON.
“I think it’s far more chilling that these cases for years have been dispensed in sort of an assembly-line fashion.” -Mick Dumke
Writers Mary Mitchell, Frank Main and Mick Dumke spoke candidly at the intimate meeting with roughly twenty south side residents representing a number of area organizations (including the Chatham Development Corporation, Park Manor Community Council, the West Chesterfield Community Association, the Chatham Business Association, the Rosemoor Community Association, the Greater Chatham Alliance and the Avalon Park Community Council amongst a half dozen others).
Technical producer Ernie Scatton and I edited and condensed the forum into an hour-long segment that aired April 16th. Scroll up top to listen in.