By Richard Lee
Coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial has been detailed and emotional. The journalists covering the trial are bringing us into the courtroom – and the trial itself is livestreamed for the whole world to see.
But reading and watching the coverage brings to mind the way political campaigns are covered. Journalists covering campaigns tend to focus on horse race issues, such as polls, fundraising and endorsements — not the substantive public policy issues that affect our lives, such as health care, the economy and education.
With the Chauvin trial, the coverage is focusing on the gripping testimony, the witnesses who broke down on the stand, the videos that captured the incident. All of these items are an important part of the story, but the bigger more important story is about systemic racism. And that’s a story that is much more complex and much more difficult to tell.
Richard Lee is executive director of the Jandoli Institute and an associate professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University.