Committed to the First Amendment
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/24/2002 7:00:00 PM
D.C. Should Get Its Day in Court
Add our names to those calling for television coverage of the trials of the two D.C.-area snipers. Others include CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, Court TV, Fox News, RTNDA, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and just about all the Washington-area TV stations.
OK, part of it is personal. Some of us here were caught in the traffic tie-ups caused by the repeated dragnets. Some of us had our children shut up in their classrooms, unable to go outside for weeks. True story: A 6-year-old girl, when asked whether her pirouetting was ballet practice, replied, "No, I'm twirling so the sniper can't hit me."
We were affected because everyone in the city and suburbs was affected. Rarely has a crime had such direct and ongoing impact on a community, from events canceled to vehicle searches to the fear that turned daily routines into nail-biting adventure.
We would argue that "it's personal" is reason enough for the courts to open its doors to the millions who have a stake in seeing the wheels of justice turn.
The electronic media have been an integral part of this story from the outset, covering it wall to wall, serving as a conduit between the police and the killers, and eventually providing the information that led to what was essentially a citizen's arrest of the alleged killers. The electronic media have been on this story from the beginning, and they should be allowed to see it through to the end. With all due respect to a host of talented artists, pastel sketches and pencil drawings just aren't going to cut it.
Latin Emmys, Si, Si
Peter Price is trying to fulfill his mandate to shake things up at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Since arriving in NATAS's New York offices, he has undertaken two initiatives. The first is the creation of the Latin Emmys for Spanish-language programming. As he sees it, the Latin Emmys would operate in parallel with the prime time and daytime Emmys, with their own televised ceremony, in Spanish. His other plan: awards for high school students. Both are good ideas. With the help of former ABC News executive Av Westin, the high school program is off and running. No problem. But the Latin Emmys need the blessing of Hollywood's Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which shares the Emmy name and traditions. Price says ATAS is thinking about it, has been thinking about it since June, in fact. With Spanish-speaking TV growing at the same rapid pace as the nation's Spanish-speaking population, we're not sure what there is to think about. The Latin Emmys should be on the schedule of either Telemundo or Univision next fall.
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