What was purpose in covering trial?

Published 4:16 pm Friday, February 15, 2013

I have struggled to understand the sheer volume of newspaper space that The Natchez Democrat chose to devote to last week’s sexual battery trial. In almost 20 years in Natchez I cannot remember this level of detailed verbatim reporting for a local trial.

Why report on this trial on a scope that far surpasses trials for murderers? Is it that sex sells newspapers? Is it the opportunity to provide salacious details? Is it the involvement of a minor? Is it the potential discussion of homosexuality?

It clearly was a difficult case, with many very personal and potentially damaging accusations and assumptions and speculations made.  What purpose was served by repeating these over multiple pages for several days?

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The articles were not poorly written, but the publishing judgment seems very questionable to me.


Kathleen Jenkins Bond



Editor’s note: We attempt to cover any significant criminal court case involving a potentially lengthy prison sentence for the accused. The complexity of this case, as referenced by attorneys involved as well as the judge, made this case span a much longer period of time than most local murder cases. The week prior, a murder case was covered and received just as much space in print on each day’s coverage, though the case was processed in only two days, while the sexual battery case occurred over four days.