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NBC Steals Story from Kids

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March 31st, 2009

By Guest Blogger Cara Lisa Powers

Full disclosure, I am the Co-Director of Press Pass TV, a youth organization in Boston. This weekend, we shot a story at the home of a community member, who had a scare Friday night when shots were fired outside his children’s bedroom. The upstairs neighbor had shots fired into her apartment as well. One youth interviewed them and other neighbors about the shooting, and about ways that they are getting involved to make their community safer. We sent the story to local media outlets with a press release to get our solution oriented message as far as it would go, and met success in two other local outlets, cross posting our story on their sites as a front page item. Then we saw the story on the 11 o’clock news on our NBC affiliate. I’m cross posting our response below:

pptvstory Here at Press Pass TV we see ourselves as a resource for the community to get their stories out and voice their issues to a broader audience. For that reason, we were thrilled yesterday when the Dorchester Reporter and Open Media Boston picked up our story on concerned neighbors in Dorchester. We’re looking forward to building strong collaborations with both of these wonderful community news outlets.

In addition to these, we had also sent the piece out to other local news outlets like the Boston Globe and WHDH Channel 7, our local NBC affiliate station. We were concerned that this story, which happened on Friday had gone unnoticed over the weekend. All we asked was that any other news outlets that used the story let us know.

So we were surprised last night when we saw the story on the Channel 7 11 O’Clock News. Unlike Open Media Boston and the Dorchester Reporter, who were excited to promote the wonderful work of Boston youth, WHDH sent out their own crew to interview the same people that we had already spoken to, capture similar b-roll, and add a few formulaic sensationalist twists.

Part of the mission here at Press Pass TV is to use the news as a source of empowerment, community building and to inspire people to action. We were happy to feature Darrin Howell, Cassie Grice and their neighbors in their dialogue about solutions to keep their children and their neighborhood safe. The story featured here on Channel 7 does none of those things, and instead perpetuates a lot of the hopelessness and fear we see young people already feeling aboupptvstoryoriginalt their communities.

Not only are we disappointed that NBC would chase a story already covered by youth without giving them any credit for breaking it, we are also saddened by their portrayal of our community. Check out our story, and the NBC story here, and let us know what you think. Also, be sure to write to NBC and let them know that you demand better for your community!

Cross-posted from By Any Media Necessary.

Guest Blogger Cara Lisa Powers is one of three Co-Directors of Press Pass TV. PPTV is a youth/adult partnership non-profit whose mission is to produce socially responsible video journalism, which promotes a more diverse media, empowers communities and increases civic engagement.

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