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New Bloggers, Old Cases

Hi. I'm David Gura, freelance — and freewheeling — editorial assistant, charged with booking and pre-interviewing guests, helping with scripts, screening phone calls, and, starting today, contributing to the Blog of the Nation. Awesome.

When I was a kid, I stuffed envelopes at North Carolina Public Radio, in Chapel Hill, during pledge drives. When my voice changed, station staff let me answer phones. Since then, I've gone to college, interned for The State of Things and All Things Considered, acquired a master's degree, and accrued some significant financial debt. Admittedly, that's less-awesome. But I'm paying it back, slowly but surely. Really, Mom, I am.

Anyhow, I'm happy to be here. And I'm glad to be blogging. Finally.

Over the summer, several of you have asked us to focus on a small town in Louisiana making national news. Today, at long last, we are.

In Jena, in the LaSalle Parish, just north of Catahoula Lake, six black teenagers beat up a white classmate after months of racial unrest and violent, racially-motivated incidents, including fights, a fire, and a so-called "prank." Initially, the local district attorney charged the six students with attempted murder. Since then, he has reduced the charges levied against them.

This story has caught fire — but slowly. I'm wondering, how does a story like this become national, albeit at a slow pace? We'd love to hear from those of you who've emailed newspaper items, talked to your friends about it, enflamed the blogs with it. And stay tuned for our coverage in the second hour....