"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow

Jaime Zapata Case Study


In the case of the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, agent Jaime Zapata the media had adequate coverage. It is actually surprising that this Latino man wasn't stereotyped in the way that other Latinos in the news may be. This could be partly due to the fact that he was part of the American enforcement team, but either way, this is a good example of the media doing fair coverage of a Latino.
A headline from one of Fox News' blogs read "Who was Jaime Zapata? Hero Remembered." In a report done by ABC News investigations go further with a headline that reads, "Random Act or Ambush? Feds Probe Shootings of U.S. Agents in Mexico." The only controversial headline and story that I came across wasn't from a big media outlet, but from a blogger for "Truth About Guns" who writes, "What Was Murdered ICE Agent Jaime Zapata Doing in Mexico," which speculated any affiliation that he could have had to the drug cartel.
Recent news from Houston Chronicle Blog about this includes a Border funding bill that was named after Jaime Zapata being passed through the House panel. This is a situation where the media can actually be commended for their coverage of this man. It was like he was given the same coverage that a white man would have received.
At the risk of sounding racist - it seems like to an extent the media covered this story like they would had if he had been white. Of course the circumstances are different and the news coverage within the articles did include the fact that he was a Latino, but the headlines for the most part didn't mention him as a Latino, and that's may actually be considered a good thing, the media focusing on the fact that a human life was loss and not focusing on what the ethnicity of the human life was. Unfortunately, the only news and media coverage I have to go by are the headlines I read online and a few of the Youtube videos I saw from news organizations, I did not see the news coverage live on television from when it first happened, and maybe if I had I would have seen something negative in the reporting.
Specifically I watched ABC News' Good Morning America video on Youtube in which Zapata was reported about and it was called "Jaime Zapata Shot and Killed; Mexico for Spring Break, Bad Idea?" I think that that was the most negative coverage that I saw - mostly because it suggests that people shouldn't go vacation in Mexico for Spring break due to what happened. The reporter, Brian Owens, spoke of Zapata as if he was an American (which he was an American, but also a Latino). There was footage of girls drinking and screaming and lots of dancing and alcohol. Then they say that all the spring break hot spots are far away from where the shooting occurred - so why even bother mentioning it?
As news representatives we learn that all stories should be reported equally, in the sense that it shouldn't matter the color of the person's skin the way that the story is reported should be universal. There shouldn't be more focus on a white person's death or something heroic a white person does - just as there shouldn't be more focus on a crime committed by a black or Latino person.

This is the video and during my oral presentation with my group we discussed how terrible this video was and what a bad job was done in the reporting:


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Casey Anthony Media Case Study

Written by Nikky Raney

Casey Anthony is the most hated person in America and the way the news media covered her trial as well as her life in general didn't help the people in our society think highly of her. CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC and the rest of the televised news media tried to be objective by interviewing prosecuting attorneys as well as defense attorneys, but the look on the faces of those reporting and the tones in their voice showed that they had an opinion and the opinion was not favorable.

The print media was not much better where the blogs were overtaking the online news sites and the papers and magazines didn't paint her in a favorable light either, and Newsweek even did an article after the fact that suggested that she could be placed in the same category as OJ Simpson as someone who got away with murder. There was also an article in Newsweek titled Did Casey Anthony Get Away With Murder? With a title like that it's hard to not have a biased opinion.

Is the reason that so many people hate her due to the media coverage that was done of her? Probably. Very few people it seems actually went out and did their research, but even those that have done the research (like myself) don't have favorable opinions of her.

The media let it be known that the 22-year-old got a tattoo reading "Bella Vita" meaning Beautiful Life, and by getting that while her daughter was missing it makes it a bit confusing as to why she thought her life was beautiful if her daughter was missing and probably dead. As the aforementioned article stated:

"Thirty-one beautiful days of parties, new boyfriends, and 'hot body' contests. Thirty-one beautiful days without her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie."

That paints a picture already that makes the reader feel an unfavorable way towards Anthony. So what was bad about it?

Clearly it was bad that every single person that reported about it basically thought she was guilty.There was nothing being reported that would suggest that she didn't do it. There was not any occasion where I watched, read or listened to a news source that didn't hint toward Anthony deserving a guilty verdict. Hell, once the verdict was reached that she was proven not guilty of anything other than four counts of lying to police the news media was outraged and once jury members began to be contacted and spoke out saying that "not guilty doesn't mean innocent."

ABC News online posted a piece called Casey Anthony Juror: Jury Sick to Stomach Over Not Guilty Verdict. Within that article included the interviews with jurors:

"'I did not say she was innocent,' said Ford, who had previously only been identified as juror No. 3. 'I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.' "

And by using phrases such as "surprising guilty verdict" like so many sources did, it just shows so much bias, but what did the news media do that was good?

The news media interviewed people who could give both sides - sort of. There were more interviews done with people who thought that she was guilty and of the interviews with people who didn't believe she was guilty a majority of them were with men who said she was "attractive." There was even speculation that the reason she got off was due to her looks and her gender, and maybe even the color of her skin.

What could have been done better would be to get more interviews from both sides and using less adjectives that would suggest that the verdict should have been guilty. Less emotion from the anchors that were covering the stories and basically people needing to be more objective and just putting the facts out there no matter how difficult that actually is.

In the future we as media representatives should try to keep our own personal opinions out of it and try to make sure that we can keep a straight face when there's a camera put in our faces or when there is someone reading our articles, unless of course it is a column or an editorial.

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