Forum to Discuss News Coverage and Stigma of Missing People
By Marc Prince
Metro Associate Editor
The social stigma and how local news organizations cover missing persons will be the topic of discussion at a forum to be held at the Tri-C Metro Campus Theater Feb. 20 at noon.
“Behind the Headlines,” a collaboration between Tri-C Student Life, the Press Club of Cleveland, and The Voice Newspaper, that will bring several different perspectives on missing person cases while discussing changes and challenges on how information is shared through the traditional media and social media.
Last year, the city of Cleveland was rocked by the discovery of three young women being held captive for more than a decade, and a couple years earlier, the discovery of missing women found dead in the home of Anthony Sowell on Imperial Avenue.
Now, it wasn’t so much the crime that tugged at our heart strings, but the fact that it happened “just down the street”…and that “it could’ve been anyone’s child.”
Tri-C Metro Student Life Coordinator, Melissa Swafford described the program as “the first in a planned series of programs set in order to provide a more in-depth exploration of newsworthy topics from many different perspectives.”
In this Behind the Headlines inaugural program, WKYC-TV managing editor and anchor, Russ Mitchell, will serve as host and moderator of the event which is already creating buzz among the younger students around the campus. Mitchell, along with panel members Valerie Brown, Tri-C sociology professor; Det. Jennifer Ciaccia, Cleveland Police public information officer; author James Renner; and Timothy McGinty, Cuyahoga County prosecutor; will provide information on how to work side-by-side to overcome this terrifying and often heart-breaking tragedy of our society.
“Missing persons is a very complicated issue and it’s changed over the years,” said Jack Hagan, Tri-C student media coordinator and veteran Plain Dealer reporter. “In the Seymour Avenue kidnappings the light really shone on missing persons, and we thought it would be interesting to engage the public in a discussion about it.”
The Behind the Headlines programs are completely free and the “Missing Persons” program is open to the public on Thursday, Feb. 20, from Noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Metro Campus Theatre. Further information about this or future Behind the Headlines events, contact Melissa Swafford at 216-987-3092.
The Voice reported from the scene of where the three young women were rescued on Seymour Avenue. CLICK below to view that report.
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