Coverage Of The Charleston Church Shooting Was Minimal For Hours & People Weren't Happy
A shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church that left at least nine people dead and others injured happened at around 9 p.m. ET Wednesday evening, but it took hours for the national news channels to really jump on the story. Some local outlets (major shoutout to Live 5 News) stayed on the story coming out of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, but cable networks CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC relied on reruns during the height of the initial investigation. Twitter users were outraged at the lack of coverage of the Charleston church shooting, and many saw the editorial choice as a slight against the black community. Update: Police confirmed Thursday that six women and three men were killed in the shooting. Three people also survived.
Overnight, people across the country (and really, around the world) searched for updates on the tragic shooting at one of the country's oldest and largest black churches. The gunman was still at large as of early Thursday morning, and officials had not released any other information about the identities or conditions of the victims. That's what made local coverage and social media vital in figuring out what was going down in Charleston. Some gems included local station Live 5 News (WCSC), which offered a live stream of its coverage. The Post and Courier, whose website is normally behind a paywall, made all of its content free to read Wednesday evening.
Cable news channels are generally lauded for their wide reach and ability to report from the far corners of the world, and yes, round-the-clock coverage isn't possible for every breaking story. But this is Charleston, South Carolina, a city that's in our backyard, where a racialized shooting happened not so long ago and put the southern town in headlines. This is a horrific attack, one that officials have quickly designated a "hate crime." This is America, where there are still mounting concerns over how our country handles race relations.
Coverage is about choices — what to report and what to pass — and this was one editorial choice that failed to meet the public's call.
Image: Live 5 News