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items tagged with Newspapers

The Forest for the Trees: Lessons from Newspaper Coverage of the Benton Mackenzie Trial and Rock Island County Government
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Media

2014-08-07 11:40:41

The July 9 Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch article announcing a verdict for Benton Mackenzie on drug charges began like this: “Even as the 12 jurors shuffled into the courtroom to announce their verdict, Benton Mackenzie could already sense his fate. Guilty.”

As storytelling journalism quickly establishing a mood and then getting to the point, it’s pretty good.

Yet with the basic facts of the case never in dispute, the verdict had long been almost a foregone conclusion because of a pre-trial ruling in May – which the Illinois-based newspapers mentioned in trial coverage but didn’t actually cover. Judge Henry Latham ruled that Mackenzie couldn’t claim he grew marijuana out of medical necessity to treat his cancer.

The Quad-City Times, on the other hand, did cover that ruling, and did a decent job explaining the precedent behind it.

But the Benton Mackenzie coverage from both entities, while voluminous, overlooked or ignored frameworks in which daily events could be understood, processed, and put into a more-meaningful context. The story is ultimately not just about one man with terminal cancer facing a criminal trial. Nor does it merely illuminate the general issue of medical marijuana.

Rather, it’s a heart-wrenching, complicated example of something larger: how the justice system deals with an area of rapidly changing law – one that is itself chasing a swift change in public attitudes following decades of calcified prohibition policy.


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Ted Rall: Slow Day at the Editorial Board
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2012-06-20 11:38:22



Ted Rall: Superman 2012
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2012-03-07 12:46:49



Bigger, But Better? The Quad-City Times Dwarfs the Argus/Dispatch’s News Coverage
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Media

2009-12-10 14:00:48

On December 1, the Quad-City Times ran 29 square inches of copy on the not-for-profit organization Skills Inc. shutting down at the end of the year. The Rock Island Argus ran an eight-square-inch brief on its front page.

This can be seen as a microcosm of the Quad Cities' two daily newspapers. A River Cities' Reader analysis found that last week, the Quad-City Times devoted 80 percent more space to local news content than the twin Illinois papers, the Rock Island Argus and the Moline Dispatch.

For the week of November 29 to December 5, the Times had 91 articles, editorials, and columns written by staff members or Lee Enterprises bureau reporters concerning local and state issues and news, totaling 2,300 square inches. The Argus/Dispatch had 69 such articles, totaling 1,274 square inches.

Including letters to the editor, the Times had more local news content each day last week than the Argus or Dispatch. Outside of Saturday's paper -- in which the amount of local news content was nearly the same -- each day the Times devoted at least 23 percent more space to local news content than the Argus/Dispatch did. On Monday, the Quad-City Times featured 307 square inches of local news content; the Argus/Dispatch had 30 -- all letters to the editor.


Read More About Bigger, But Better? The Quad-City Times Dwarfs The Argus/Dispatch’S News Coverage...


Ted Rall: Print to Fit
Written By: Administrator
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2009-04-09 12:00:00






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