As an execution nears, journalism’s focus is appropriately on the specifics of that situation: the crimes and evidence, the families. But a brief mention or count of protesters outside the prison does an injustice to the facts and deeply-held beliefs that belong in a civic discussion of the death penalty. When do journalists give that discussion the time and space it deserves? The Storify below captures the related journalistic issues that arose Wednesday night as Troy Davis faced death.
Why don’t we cover the details of death penalty cases like this? Like, in full? Why does our collective big-media ADD only focus on the moment beforehand? Is it because there are too many cases? Too many stories that deserve our attention more? And where does the debate about the supporters and detractors fit into the whole thing? There are a lot of thoughts to keep in mind about all this, but as a journalistic society, we have selective viewing habits. Instead of focusing on the peak points, why not focus on the 22 years between Davis’ alleged crime and his execution? It’s something this site needs to work on, but it’d be easier if other news outlets took lessons from this.