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Jena 6, Little Rock Nine on 'News & Views'

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Jena 6, Little Rock Nine on 'News & Views'

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Jena 6, Little Rock Nine on 'News & Views'

Jena 6, Little Rock Nine on 'News & Views'

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News & Notes Web producer Geoffrey Bennett talks about online coverage of the Jena 6 case, the Little Rock Nine 50th anniversary, and the other stories that are making the rounds on the show's blog, "News & Views."


The Jena Six case is making news from Capitol Hill to the blogosphere. We've got NEWS & NOTES Web producer Geoff Bennett with more, hey.


CHIDEYA: So the cover to the protest in Jena was a big story on our blog last week and it hasn't shown any signs of letting up. So what's going on?

BENNETT: Yeah it hasn't shown any signs of letting up. That's definitely the case. We've been covering the story for the last few months pretty closely. And last week, there is a groundswell of reaction from folks online. And it's really been a watershed moment for the black blogosphere. I mean, that's where the initial coverage of this case started. That's how the protest was largely organized, and we've just heard about how lawmakers are getting involved.

And, you know, one can make the argument that that wouldn't have happened without the constant drumbeating from people online. And on our own blog, we have folks young and old, from different backgrounds, some in support of those six young teens, others who say there's a difference between hanging a noose from a tree and doling out a beat down. And there's a few who say that, you know, they're frustrated by the fact that this case is getting so much attention when, you know, in their words, black on black crimes are still a much more devastating issue.

And because people can remain anonymous when they post in our blog, that's how you really find out what people think about race relations in this country.

CHIDEYA: What other issues are people taking on on the blog?

BENNETT: They're talking about the White House official calling Barack Obama intellectually lazy as we heard about. Your interview with the alleged white supremacist who claimed to have a support of the Jena Six - or the mayor of Jena, Louisiana. And they're also talking about the 50th anniversary of Little Rock. In much like our coverage of Jena Six, people are quick to share their own personal stories, you know, recollections about living through that era, and in some cases having to desegregate their own local school systems.

CHIDEYA: How does personal storytelling play out differently on the blog than it might in other forms of interaction, like if you were just writing us a regular letter?

BENNETT: Well, it's, you know, that's the biggest variably, right? Like broadcast media's is strapped for time, print media is strapped for space. And so online, bloggers and people who leave comments can weave in that first person perspective that gives depth to news stories. And that extends to any news story.

You know, we talked about the mortgage crisis on our blog and people have shared their experiences about buying their first home. And so we're able to sort of weave that personal - those personal experiences in with the news stories in ways that we couldn't in traditional media.

CHIDEYA: So we've got all bunches of stuff that we want to talk about, but if you want to talk about something that isn't already on the blog, how do you do it?

BENNETT: We're always looking for people to speak their mind. It's an online series we have where we let people blog about issues that matter to them. They can either e-mail us or go to our blog,, click the link at the top and find out how to do it.

CHIDEYA: Well, Geoff, thanks as always.

BENNETT: Thank you.

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

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