Fault Lines in Media

The idea and concept of Faults Lines put forward by Dori Maynard of the Maynard Institute of Journalism Education is something I never heard about until this course. This concept takes a look at media bias within articles themselves. The main 5 focuses are race, gender, class, generation and geography. Maynard stated that journalist must look to these as “deep, but completely natural things, as natural as geologic fault lines” when looking and reviewing journalism stories. This is due to the elephant in the room that is media bias that does occur in times as journalism. This is important to take a look at in recent news due to news sources catering to certain demographics. Examples of this include Vice learning more liberal with an “in-your-face” attitude and Brietbart leaning into toward the extreme conservative side of things (more so toward the worse and not necessarily the better). It is a helpful notion and sort of keeps us journalist in check to see if bias is slipping out and how stories are being sold in certain media outlets. Honestly, it took a long while to fully grasp the concept (even now, while writing, I’m barely an amatuer toward understanding it all), but I shall do my best to make the audit with a recent story out of San Bernardino, California.

“Ex-San Bernardino policeman under investigation after shooting a man whose hands were in the air” 

A policeman in San Bernardino shot a man five times to death after surrendering with his hands up in the air. Richard Sanchez was 27 and Latino while Officier Brandon Gaddie is a white male with an undisclosed age. Officier Gaddie came onto the scene after a call of Sanchez coming in brandishing a gun and threatening his family with the weapon. However, by the time Gaddie arrived, he had dropped the weapon, surrendered, only to be killed. Another source in the video component is the Acting Chief Eric McBride, another white male of undisclosed age or background, stating that Gaddie did not make use of the standards the law enforcement has. Gaddie himself resigned, rather than getting fired. The incident is currently being reviewed by the District Attorney in San Bernardino. 

Stories of police officers shooting those who are unarmed have become such a prevalent news story as of late due to the rise. The victim of said incident are usually that of minority groups and backgrounds. Cases such as that of the shooting of Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Botham Jean and more recently Atatina Jefferson all involved an officer of white background committing said acts. In each case, there is a call of Black Lives Matter, injustice and what the full picture truly is. It is important to analyze and go through these stories with the utmost respect to the subject at hand and deliver without bias as not to give a perspective that is demeaning, nor gross. The Fault Lines can use work as it does not work with every article and only serves a brief reminder of what we can do and look for when covering heavy stories and topics.

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