March 20, 2005

Inadvertently Appropriate

Carroll Andrew Morse

Page one of the B section (“Local News”) of today’s dead-tree Projo is dominated by coverage – but not an article – of Saturday afternoon’s Iraq-war anniversary protests held in downtown Providence. Here is the full content of the coverage: two color photos, a long photo caption, a large-font headline reading “Two years on, war sparks protest”, and a reference to a reprint of a national story on page A6. (The Local News section of the electronic Projo contains one of the photos, the headline, and caption, but no permalink to the material).

The form of the coverage is a curious journalistic choice. What leads the Projo’s editorial staff to believe that photographers are appropriate but reporters are unnecessary when covering “anti-war” protests? Are the Projo’s editors tacitly recognizing that these sorts of protest involve no ideas worth reporting, discussing and analyzing? But if the ideas behind the protest are not worth talking about, why feature the protest so prominently in the first place?

To get an idea of what was actually being said at the protest, check out the first-hand reporting (yes, that is first hand reporting, providing more detailed coverage than is available in the mainstream media, from a blog) available at Kellipundit.