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Panel examines media’s role in Trayvon Martin case

July 19, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The media made a multitude of mistakes in covering the high-profile prosecution of George Zimmerman in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin, some Central Florida civic leaders said Thursday during a panel discussion organized for the state’s news editors.

The criticism ran the gamut, from the photos of Martin and Zimmerman that were published soon after the teen’s shooting death to the initial failure of the media to treat the case as a significant story.

It didn’t gain wide attention until Martin’s father began calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and the media picked up on suggestions that it was a case of racial profiling.

“It was just another black boy dead in Sanford, and it was not an important story,” said Francis Oliver, curator of the Goldsboro Historical Museum in Sanford, which displays the area’s black heritage. “It was not an important story until Tracy Martin pushed it.”

Orlando Sentinel breaking news editor Michelle Guido acknowledged that the paper didn’t devote much coverage to the case immediately after the Martin’s death, having little initial information on the shooting in a region where shootings are not uncommon.

“It sounds weird in the context of something that’s become so huge, but the initial story, that is a story that we see every day. I’m sure we’ve got one today,” she said.

The discussion took place during the annual Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors convention. It was scheduled before Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder charges Saturday. Read the rest of the story at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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