What a difference three miles makes
CommonWealth's Michael Jonas tallied up the bylines in yesterday's Globe coverage of the murder of cabbie Luckinson Oruma in the Back Bay - nine reporters contributed. Even the Herald, which barely has a newsroom anymore, had three reporters on the story yesterday.
WBZ, one of the TV stations that sent a helicopter to the scene, quoted Mayor Walsh: "This is something that we don’t see in Boston every day, a daylight shooting."
On the afternoon of Jan. 18, people in a busy Boston shopping district had to dive behind desks and cars when two men with guns tried to settle an argument by shooting each other. By the time they were done firing a total of 12 rounds, one of the shooters was dead, the other seriously injured.
The Globe sent a single reporter to the scene (he did a very good job interviewing witnesses). Two days later, an intern in the Globe newsroom rewrote the press release Boston Police issued after charging the surviving shooter with murder.
And that was it.
So far this year, Boston has seen roughly seven daytime murders (the exact number would require setting a precise definition of "daytime"), so while it's not an everyday thing, it's hardly unheard of (all 2019 murders).
Until yesterday, though, none of them were in the Back Bay. Something that is unusual might be more newsworthy, but as Jonas writes:
It’s hard to ignore the obvious disparity between this coverage [of yesterday's murder] and that given to the dozens of other homicides that occur in the city each year, and hard to avoid the sense, at least as projected by media attention, that gun mayhem is to be expected in crime-prone neighborhoods and lives lost to it there are cheaper.
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Sad, but everything you wrote is true.
Walsh's quote is not thoughtful at all.
As you noted, the rarity makes it more likely to draw clicks.
And this is why Universal Hub
And this is why Universal Hub is so important. I lived in Egleston Square in 2009/2010 and could never find info on what was happening in my neighborhood (good OR bad) until I found this site. Since then, it's my first stop for news, since I know you'll cover neighborhoods and events the newspapers and news channels won't bother with.
The last murder to get this much coverage
from looking at your list, was that of Jassy Correia, kidnapped at the Theatre District / South End boundary and then murdered somewhere between here and Delaware. It was also pretty unusual for a few reasons (including that the alleged murderer was a well-educated Raytheon engineer).
Edited to add: that one also involved someone coming here from Rhode Island to commit a murder.
You summarize my thoughts completely
For all the coverage the Globe puts out about disparities, they sure seem to be part of the problem.
They pretty much treat the weekly shootings in Mattapan & Dorchester as everyday occurrences, barely newsworthy.
Are they not weekly occurrences?
Man bites dog
What Walsh probably meant to say was "this is something that we don’t see in the Back Bay every day, a daylight shooting." For better or worse, more coverage is expected when something unusual happens. Societal norms vary by zip code.
Walsh is not the mayor of Back Bay. He represents us all, and when we start to see media depicting our city as limited to a certain square blockage, that's a problem.
Adam can settle this
He can provide stats of all UHub Posters’ viewing history. We can see whether Posters such as RozzieRT inordinately viewed posts in high crime areas.
How someone is killed matters too much to the media
If the cab driver was struck by a car while walking in the Back Bay it would have made the news but otherwise not resulted as much coverage or a statement from the Mayor. Had he been struck and killed in a distant part of the city it probably wouldn't have even made the news on larger media outlets.
Alternatively, had he been shot by terrorist it would have made the National news for days.
It shouldn't matter. Either way a man's life was taken through no fault of his own. Either way his kids are now without a father. Why does a gun make it "worse"?
Advice for you BostonDog
It’s early enough where hardly anyone has seen this post so I would just go ahead and delete it if I were you. Was this post inspired by a televangelist from 30 years ago lamenting the human condition?
It’s not that they care, people pay attention to news that is compelling, otherwise a guy dying peacefully of atherosclerosis from a lifetime of vaping would get the same amount of news coverage as someone murdering someone and walking around in a suit made from the victim’s skin.
Occasionally, a murder in the far neighborhoods gets attention
The one that comes to my mind right now is that of Dawnn Jaffier, who was murdered in broad daylight on Blue Hill Avenue while waiting for the 2014 Caribbean carnival's J'ouvert (morning) parade to arrive. It got months of media coverage.
This one was especially upsetting to me since I had been watching the same parade about a mile south of where she was gunned down.
There's a calculus to the coverage
I do believe that the man who runs this website might be looking at one angle of this, but that doesn't mean it's not true. The sad truth is that if Dawnn Jaffier was gunned down a week later, the coverage would have been less. This is not to say there would have been no coverage, just not the same level of coverage.
Yes! I love that you wrote
Yes! I love that you wrote this, and many kudos for rightfully calling out your fellow journalists.
Maria Cramer from The Globe wrote earlier this week about the guilty verdict from the Christopher Brown murder (which you did not, I’m assuming you may have missed it though because you usually do).
Her piece was basically 90% about how the murderer was failed time and time again and barely mentioned the innocent victim who was gunned down on Ashmont Street two years ago.
It was mind-boggingly frustrating to read and she got called out on Twitter, turning a deaf ear to rightful criticisms.
I sincerely doubt they, or she, will ever acknowledge this.
Nothing to do with zip code
How bout it’s because he was an innocent man with 5 kids just living his life, trying to earn a living, when some loser decided to take his life for no reason.
How bout it’s because this loser could’ve just gotten into one of the many other cabs lined up in that area, but instead decided to empty a clip on an defenseless older man.
This story would’ve gotten a ton of press even if it were in Dudley sq. or Mattapan, as it should.
Couple of things
You are absolutely right that what happened is really awful and words cannot describe what the family is going through now and that the story would have garnered a lot of attention because of what happened, not where (see, for example, the death of a grandmother caught in the crossfire of a gun battle in Mattapan, which got a fair amount of coverage).
But all the helicopters launched and reporters flooded the zone before we knew anything about that - when all we knew was that somebody had been shot in front of the Colonnade and that the killer had been caught on Ring Road.
Perhaps all those reporters got the news out about the poor victim faster than might have otherwise happened, but the fact is the intensive coverage started because of the location and timing of the murder, not because of the people involved.
"Perhaps all those reporters got the news out about the poor victim faster than might have otherwise happened, but the fact is the intensive coverage started because of the location and timing of the murder, not because of the people involved" ... and because white people were tweeting out pics of the scene and subjected to the sound of gunfire for the first time in their lives.
This is all about white folks feeling shook. "I was just near there yesterday exchanging something at Vineyard Vines!!!" This disparity in media coverage needs to be addressed. The devaluation of marginalized lives is perpetuated by the news media. Thanks for posting this, Adam.
And Backbay residents complain
...about how underserved they are with city services.
His quote is likely aimed more at tourists than local people.
A tale of two cities
In the inner city our young black men are dying and no one seems to care. In downtown Boston visitors of color are viewed with suspicion, treated with contempt, and subject to racial taunts when visiting our fine institutions or riding the MBTA. while black.
It has just as much to do with who, as where
The sad truth is a lot of the murders are gang members, or people who are otherwise engaged in illicit activities. Whenever an innocent bystander, or upstanding citizen gets killed for nothing related to things they've done, it tends to garner more attention. RIP to Mr. Oruma.
Was Carl Brown a gang member? Was Jose Luis Phinn a gang member?
how would the reporters know here if its a gang member or not before they get there to cover it? Unless they're just guessing based on the location of the event, in which case it goes back to the point Adam's making.
There goes that darn system again
Man shoots another in cold blood over nothing: Quick, shift the topic from the murderer to media! And the mayor! Anything but the actual crime itself, we aren't comfortable talking about that. (Aren't we really All to blame here?)
It must be exhausting being you
Coming up with conspiracy theories like that.
Nobody is not discussing the horrible nature of the murder - it's all over the news. So a writer at CommonWealth made a side observation that, obviously, I agreed with since I posted about it. Most people are able to see the world in more than two shades and be horrified by a particular act and yet wonder about how the media cover it compared to all the other horrifying acts in the city.
Not a conspiracy, just a need to see the world in simple ways.
Ways that fit neatly into narratives people want to talk about. Someone killed someone in broad daylight? Let's all take a moment to shake our fists at the Mayor (because all problems are the fault of some authority figure).
Yes it is all over the news.
Which is exactly what you are complaining about. Rather than talk about the issue (but honestly, what is there say?), you shift immediately to topics more familiar: Cops are bad because they showed up in force, same with the media, and that darn Mayor needs to answer after we parse his comments. Round up the Usual Suspects.