Sunday, October 28, 2012

The TimesDaily: Journalism Ain't What It Used To Be

If you're old enough, you can remember when the TimesDaily was a locally owned newspaper. Extended coverage was usually given to murder trials; an article covering a day's proceedings could take up half the front page and testimony was published verbatim. Things change and so has our local rag's coverage of almost everything, including murder trials.

D.K. has often commented that the casual reader is not informed of much that goes on in the court room. Whether this is for purposes of controlling article length or other reasons, we don't know. We do know that for many years, Dennis Sherer covered murder trials in the Shoals. His tenure as the legal correspondent ended last July, and Hannah Mask is now in charge of memorializing murder for the masses. So, how's she doing?

From D.K.:

After the sentencing in the Tammy Woods case, the new Times Daily reporter Hannah Mask wrote this at the end of her story:

"Tony Woods spoke quietly with Donnie Cottingham, away from the crowd, after the sentencing. "I told him we didn't have any hard feelings toward his family, and he felt the same," Cottingham said "I told him I'd pray for him, and he said he'd prey for me."

We were at the sentencing and with the family until they carried Tony Woods out of the court room, we never saw any such between Donnie Cottingham and Tony Woods, and the Tammie Woods family has said that never happened !

A misprint or mistake is one thing, as Hannah saying Jeff Woods was Tony Wood's dad, he is really Tony's brother. But adding words that were not spoken or heard is so wrong !

I for one would like to trust what is put in print, but when things as this  to is put into our TD,  it's hard to trust what the truth maybe when we not are there.

As I said Hannah is new, her first trial, she replaced Dennis Sherer. Many of the victim's family had noticed how she slanted her stories in what they thought to favor the defendant, his picture on front page each day, until the day of the conviction and then on back page in small print. Not one picture of the victim that whole time. I only wish Hannah the best and hope she learns what and how to report in these type stories when emotions are on edge. 

"Justice For All--Even The Victims"


While on the subject of the Tony Woods' trial, we'll add we're surprised Woods wasn't indicted for Capital Murder. He fired into a retreating vehicle and struck his estranged wife. If Junior Clemmons is guilty of Capital Murder (he has so far only been indicted), then why wasn't Tony Woods?

Yes, justice in the Shoals, or perhaps anywhere, would seem to be a crap shoot. Grand juries, supportive or non-supportive families, district attorneys, trial juries, and judges all play their role in the final outcome. Yet it's our belief that if the citizens don't demand justice, they will rarely see it meted out. More tomorrow...



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