Jena 6 Coverage Grows Online

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News & Notes producer Geoffrey Bennett talks with Farai Chideya about the stories that are making the rounds on the show's blog, "News & Views," including online coverage of the Jena 6 case.

FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.

We've got our weekly Bloggers' Roundtable coming up. But first, we take a look at what's happening on our blog NEWS & VIEWS.

With me is NEWS & NOTES Web producer Geoffrey Bennett. Hey, Geoff.

GEOFFREY BENNETT: Hey, Farai.

CHIDEYA: So a lot of people in our blog are focusing on Jena 6. What's going on?

BENNETT: They have. That's been the story of the moment ever since Mychal Bell, one of the six black teens being prosecuted in this case, had his conviction overturned on Friday. It's been the main story on our new headlines. And response from our listeners has been pretty lockstep in condemning what they call a miscarriage of justice.

Now, one comment reads, we have to remember that although this issue was brought to light in Jena, it is not simply a Jena problem or a Southern problem. It's a major problem in this country. And there are few other comments from people who live in Jena and in the South who caution those who are quick to pass judgment on the town. So that's been a big story in our blog and on other's as well.

CHIDEYA: Now, how has the blogosphere, in general, affecting this story?

BENNETT: Well, that's sort of the luxury of the Internet to be able to cover the stories that you like in the way that you like. And you know what's interesting is the fight at Jena High School happened in December of 2006. It wasn't a national news story until June of this year when Bell was convicted by an all-white jury. And even then, blogs and black blogs, in particular, were ahead of mainstream commercial media in covering this story.

And you know, that's also been a story - a big issue on our blog as well that, you know, stories about Michael Vick and O.J. Simpson have outpaced coverage of the Jena Six. So the blogs and black blogs are upset and they're really taken up this cause.

CHIDEYA: So on our blog, I had a lot of fun putting up some really scary outfits…

BENNETT: Yeah.

CHIDEYA: …from Nona Hendryx, whom we just spoke to. I mean, you know, we were all - you're old enough wearing a lot of Lycra. What else are people talking about on NEWS & VIEWS?

BENNETT: Well, there's that, the spandex and the fringe from the '80s, definitely. They're also talking about a more serious topic, which is that heinous torture case in West Virginia. And also last week's Bloggers' Roundtable, which was pretty provocative, as I'm sure you'll remember. One of our guest bloggers, you know, sought to defend herself on our blog against a listener who's criticizing her position on some of the issues. And so there was a huge exchange that sort of played out for a couple of days.

CHIDEYA: A flame work.

BENNETT: Yeah, exactly. And, you know, we don't encourage personal attacks on our blogs. We always invite the dialogues. So I say, how about it?

CHIDEYA: All right. Well, Geoff, thanks again.

BENNETT: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Geoff Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES.

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