Trayvon Martin

Report: George Zimmerman to sue NBC over botched edit of 911 call

New York Post
Accused Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman is preparing a lawsuit against NBC, NBC News President Steve Capus and correspondent Ron Allen, the New York Post’s Page Six reports.

A source tells us, “The suit will be filed imminently against NBC and its news executives. The network’s legal department has put everybody in the news department involved with this incident on notice, telling them not to comment.”

Poynter has confirmed that NBC is not commenting in this matter.

NBC broadcast three reports using audio edited to make it appear Zimmerman said, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” The first report was produced by WTVJ in Miami, which fired reporter Jeff Burnside, who was involved in editing it. Read more

George Zimmerman, left, walks out of the intake building at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility with an unidentified man on Sunday, April 22, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman posted bail on a $150,000 bond on a second degree murder charge in the February shooting death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin In Sanford, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

Trayvon Martin story revitalizes black press, mobilizes ‘new guard’

As George Zimmerman is released on bail from a Florida jail after being charged with the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the case has ushered in “new guards” of black media, reports Jeff John Roberts, in a story that appeared on paidContent and CNN this month.

“African American news site has helped drive NBC’s coverage of the Trayvon Martin tragedy,” Roberts reports. “Since its first piece on March 8, theGrio has published more than 250 stories on Martin and many of its videos have landed on shows like the ‘Today’ show and ‘NBC Nightly News.’ The Grio’s success reflects the rise of a new generation of African American news as well as a new symbiosis between niche and mainstream media outlets.”

A look back

The U.S. Read more


CBS credits Mark Strassmann with breaking Trayvon Martin story

Maynard Institute | New York Times | Miami Herald | Orlando Sentinel

The Trayvon Martin case has gotten relatively quiet, so is it time to revisit who first helped spread the story? Bob Schieffer said on Sunday that Mark Strassmann, who works in the network’s Atlanta bureau, was first. Richard Prince noted yesterday that Strassmann’s story appeared the same day Trymaine Lee’s piece in the Huffington Post was published: March 8. It’s probably wrong to ask which piece had bigger impact; they resonated in different ways.

Strassmann was also credited with being first in a March 25 New York Times piece by Brian Stelter, who wrote:

The first national attention appears to have come from CBS News, on March 8, after the network’s southeast bureau, based in Atlanta, was tipped off.

Read more
Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton, center, closes her eyes as the family attorney Benjamin Crump rests his head against her shoulder, next to her son Jahvaris Fulton, left, during a news conference about the arrest of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

How 5 news sites monitor, moderate conversation about Trayvon Martin stories

A Huffington Post story about George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder charge had generated more than 15,000 comments by Wednesday evening. By noon today, the story had more than 25,000 comments.

Editors at smaller news organizations say their sites and social media platforms have also been inundated with comments.

“It’s a difficult thing to manage, in part because the volume of the comments is so extreme,” said Miami Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch. “It’s almost like a Twitter feed.”

Hirsch and other journalists I talked to all agree that people want to talk about the Trayvon Martin story and that news sites should provide forums for this conversation. But they have different thoughts on how to moderate the conversation, and have taken a variety of approaches.

Moderating all comments to keep the conversation focused

Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, center, closes her eyes as the family attorney Benjamin Crump rests his head against her shoulder, next to her son Jahvaris Fulton, left, during a news conference about the arrest of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Read more
1 Comment

Why report on neo-Nazi activity related to Trayvon Martin shooting?

There are lots of people from fringe groups saying stupid things in the wake of Martin’s killing and the push to arrest Zimmerman. Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 reported Wednesday that neo-Nazi groups were handing out literature as people gathered just before Corey announced her decision on charges. … But media should be more responsible. We don’t run to neo-Nazi groups for comment on every racial controversy because we know two things: such groups only represent a small sliver of opinions, and giving racist groups media attention only helps them grow and spread.”

Related: Neo-Nazis respond to media skepticism about Sanford patrols by offering up a questionable source

Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay Times


How CNN homepage evolved with news of Zimmerman charges, arrest for Trayvon Martin shooting

Breaking news is often fluid, but journalists had time to plan Wednesday for news that George Zimmerman would likely face charges in the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Florida State Attorney Angela Corey scheduled a 6 p.m. press conference to announce her decision, during which the Top 10 news sites generally updated their homepage once or twice with either a new headline or new photo or both. Based on checks I did every 15 minutes or so, and screenshots I grabbed between 5:50 and 6:55, CNN was the only one of those sites to update the story headline and/or photo more than twice in that hour. Here’s how its coverage progressed.

CNN’s initial homepage story at 5:57 p.m. — just before the news conference began — relied on anonymous sources and photos of Zimmerman and Martin.
Read more
State Attorney Angela Corey, special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, announces that George Zimmerman will be charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin during a news conference Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla. Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin as he walked home in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Wilson)

Special prosecutor in Trayvon Martin case: ‘The media has helped’

Florida State Attorney and special prosecutor Angela Corey praised journalists during the news conference in which she announced that George Zimmerman has been charged with murder in the second degree for the February 26th shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

“It is regrettable that so many facts and details got released and misconstrued,” Corey said Wednesday evening. “But we hope that — and the media has helped, toning it down a lot and making sure that people understand Florida law and the process. And we hope that people will continue to do that.”

On CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted that Florida’s Sunshine laws mean cameras in the courtroom for Zimmerman’s trial.

“This trial will be a trial by television,” Toobin said. Read more


The 10 things to do before Zimmerman charges are announced

State Attorney and special prosecutor Angela Corey is expected to announce today at 6 p.m. whether criminal charges will be filed against George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., in February. The Washington Post reports that Zimmerman will be charged, though it is not clear with what crime.

Zimmerman’s lawyers resigned Tuesday after losing touch with their client, who they said contacted Corey, as well as Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Zimmerman also talked about his new website via email with student journalist Wesley Lowery.

Before the charges are announced, here are eight things your newsroom needs to do:

Be ready to watch the conversation taking place around the stories you publish. This includes comments on stories, as well as those on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Read more


Media repeat, but don’t check, claims of armed neo-Nazis where Trayvon Martin was killed

A leader of a neo-Nazi group called the National Socialist Movement says his group has organized armed patrols of Sanford, Fla., the town where George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.

“You can either be prepared or you can be blindsided,” NSM Commander Jeff Schoep told the Miami New Times for a Friday morning blog post, the first to report claims of armed patrols. “This way, if something were to touch off a race riot, we’d already be in the area.”

But are they actually patrolling the area? The New Times story didn’t include comment from local authorities or any other sources that could confirm this. Its story went online with the eye-popping headline, “Armed Neo-Nazis Now Patrolling Sanford, Say They Are ‘Prepared’ for Post-Trayvon Martin Violence.”

The story spread rapidly to other media outlets, including the New York Daily NewsGawkerThe Huffington PostRaw Story, the New York PostMediaiteThe BlazeThe Daily Beast, Drudge and the Daily Mail. Read more


Should journalists show support for Trayvon Martin, ask for Scott Walker’s recall?

Two separate incidents involving journalists who work for Gannett and ESPN have renewed attention to the issue of how journalists should exercise their right to free speech.

Earlier this week, editors and publishers at several Gannett papers said that its journalists had violated the company’s values by signing petitions calling for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall. ESPN, meanwhile, dropped its ban on staff posting photos of themselves wearing hoodies to show solidarity with Trayvon Martin.

These news organizations’ decisions raise interesting questions: Which of these types of speech should journalists feel free to exercise? And should journalists who are covering these stories limit their speech more than those who aren’t?

We asked our Twitter followers about this (take our poll here), and hosted a related live chat with Reuters’ Jack Shafer. Read more

Page 2 of 3123