Connect with us

Bad Credit

They wanted an angel, but she was only human: Why WAVE deleted that story about Breonna Taylor

Published

on

The coronavirus pandemic has repeatedly highlighted the critical role local journalism plays in keeping the public safe and informed, and it underscores our need to continue supporting ethical, quality journalism with our subscription dollars. But the public must keep journalists accountable for their mistakes, especially when their work threatens to make the public actually less safe and informed. Sadly, criticism of journalists as insensitive and opportunistic came to the fore because of a recent investigative story by WAVE 3 News that went viral, reminding us that just because journalists can tell a story doesn’t mean they always should.

This week, details emerged about the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, a local ER technician who was killed by Louisville police in her own home on March 13 during an apparent drug raid gone awry. Already reeling from the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, many across the nation are outraged by the death of Taylor, who was not a criminal suspect and had no criminal history. Tensions are high, and the tragedy quickly became a centerpiece of the national conversation about racially-motivated violence, so it’s especially critical for hometown journalists to get the story right — and be fair while doing so.

However, WAVE did no one any good by publishing a brief story by reporter Natalia Martinez that attempted to — in her words — tell more about “Breonna Taylor’s life,” but the story merely whittled Taylor’s life down to a job she held four years ago. (The online story has since been removed.)

 Four of the seven short paragraphs in that story were devoted to an 11-month period in 2016 when Taylor worked for Louisville Metro. WAVE reported that Taylor “called” to quit her job as an EMT after serving in that capacity for five months, and that her termination form included a “do not rehire” box that was checked. The city wouldn’t comment on the reason, citing privacy policies.

There’s nothing wrong with correcting misinformation about Taylor’s current place of employment, but this story about her work history four years ago — when she was just 22 — seems to serve no other purpose in the narrative other than to throw her character into question. In this case, mundane details like these matter as much as having a bad credit report or unpaid traffic tickets — which is to say they don’t matter at all — especially because the specific details are unknown. 

Even worse, this type of dirt-digging gives fodder to knee-jerk defenders of unchecked lethal force by police officers and detracts from calls for a full accounting into why a young, Black woman’s life was suddenly and violently taken from her. Regardless of the intent of the reporter or the station, the information serves as a smear, useful only to city attorneys and stalwart police defenders but potentially harmful to people who could be victimized by unchecked power in the future.

The news media have a long history of attempting to dig up dirt on victims of police violence. The New York Times infamously described Ferguson teenager Mike Brown as “no angel,” a phrase that was later denounced by their own public editor, and then later dug deeply into Eric Garner’s past after he was killed by police. And when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by the Cleveland police, the local news made sure to let everyone know that the lawyer representing his family had previously defended Rice’s mother in court. 

Local journalism has faced similar backlashes. When United Airlines dragged Dr. David Dao off a plane in 2017, the Twitterverse dragged the Courier-Journal’s coverage of his past troubles — which they had previously reported, but seemed to come out of nowhere to the story’s national audience. In 2020, “no angel” reporting has become such a journalistic cliché that we’re wondering why any newsroom would breathlessly report any potentially unfavorable yet irrelevant details from Taylor’s life alongside the details of her tragic death.

What does the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics say about this practice of digging up dirt on dead victims?

First, the SPJ urges journalists to “seek truth and report it.” But that doesn’t mean journalists should reflexively and indiscriminately put crime victims on blast, because the SPJ also tells journalists to “diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.” WAVE’s Martinez might argue that her article served to correct others who were erroneously stating that Taylor was still employed as an EMT, but placing importance on the way her employment ended changes the narrative. Taylor is not alive to respond to the question of why she resigned, which should give any reporter pause before publishing a story like this.

Second, the SPJ says journalists should “be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.” Attempting to dig up dirt on a woman killed by armed agents of the state — a woman who was definitely not a public figure — is the opposite of holding power to account.

Finally, the SPJ Code of Ethics also urges journalists to “minimize harm.” Specifically, the Code of Ethics says journalists ought to “recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.”

To be fair, we should point out that it was not WAVE’s only story on Taylor. For example, Phylicia Ashley reported on Taylor’s positive impact on the life of another Louisville citizen, a story that was far more revealing of Taylor’s character than unexplained details from an old employment record. In response to an email from us, WAVE’s news director Dan Fabrizio pointed to this story as an example of the breadth of their coverage.

However, the individual format of such news stories doesn’t allow any web-based news organization’s largely online audience to consider breadth, and as such, Ashley’s story was not enough to keep Martinez’s story from igniting the frustrations of thousands across social media. For Black and brown people, it’s not hard to see the writing on the wall — or screen — regarding how tragedies involving themselves or their loved ones would play out in the press, especially if it comes at the hands of the police.

Did WAVE have the legal right to pore through the public record of Breonna Taylor’s brief time working for Metro Louisville? Absolutely. But that does not mean that they were ethically justified in publishing information that does nothing but conflate the tragic circumstances of another young Black person’s death at the hands of police officers with an irrelevant 4-year-old employment issue.

Fortunately, Fabrizio also saw problems with Martinez’s story and pulled it from WAVE’s site on Friday night.

When we asked him via email why the story was pulled, he wrote: “We reported a fact about her departure from an EMT job that lacked perspective. That raised concerns and questions about its relevance. We had a lot of discussions among members of our news team and with people in the community. The criticism was fair.”

Indeed. There are no angels among us, just humans living their lives. We all have personal and private moments that we would not want to define us after death. To reduce a crime victim — a private citizen without power or institutional protections — to their worst moments or most embarrassing failures is to dehumanize them and justify their suffering while those responsible for that suffering escape accountability. Let’s call upon WAVE and other local newsrooms to do what journalism does best: examine systemic failures, demand accountability, and “give voice to the voiceless.” It’s the least that our city can do for Breonna Taylor, a young woman who worked on the pandemic frontlines for Louisville.

Liz Palmer and James Miller are former media critics for Insider Louisville and have led the Journalism & Communication magnet program at duPont Manual High School for the last 14 years. 



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bad Credit

Virginia Used Car Dealer Offers Local Drivers Reliable Pre-Owned Vehicles and Affordable Prices

Published

on

A man and woman standing in front of a car

Used Cars Under $10,000 in Virginia

Karen Radley Volkswagen is offering local drivers a variety of used vehicles to choose from that are priced under $10,000, including capable SUV’s, versatile crossovers, fuel-efficient sedans and sporty coupes.

There are many ways for people to save money when shopping for the things they need and can’t live without. For many people, a vehicle that can offer them the reliability they need is incredibly important and something they require every day. Drivers in Virginia that are searching for affordable used cars under $10,000 now have a dealership they can turn to that will help them get behind the wheel of a reliable vehicle they can afford. Karen Radley Volkswagen is offering local drivers a variety of used vehicles to choose from that are priced under $10,000, including capable SUV’s, versatile crossovers, fuel-efficient sedans and sporty coupes.

With used car specials that offer affordable pricing and a large inventory of pre-owned vehicles that can be purchased for under $10,000, drivers will be able to find the vehicle they’ve always wanted to drive at a price that fits their budget. Karen Radley Volkswagen also helps make buying a reliable and budget-friendly used car easy by offering used car loans to drivers regardless of their credit score. Good or bad credit car loans are fast and easy to obtain and apply for when shopping at Karen Radley Volkswagen.

To learn more about how to get behind the wheel of an affordable used car in Virginia, or to view the current inventory of used cars under $10,000, drivers can visit the local dealership’s website by going to http://www.karenradleyvw.com. Questions can be directed towards the sales staff by calling 833-243-5895. Shoppers may also see all the used cars at Karen Radley Volkswagen by driving to 14700 Jefferson Davis Highway.

Share article on social media or email:

Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

Legislation to Combat Unfair Auto Insurance Rates Clears Committee

Published

on

Legislation to Combat Unfair Auto Insurance Rates Clears Committee

 

Trenton – In response to high automobile insurance assessments, the Senate Commerce Committee passed legislation sponsored by Senators Nia Gill, M. Teresa Ruiz, Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Nellie Pou, which would prohibit the use of education, occupation, homeownership status, marital status, or credit score in certain automobile insurance determinations.

 

“The use of factors such as employment status and credit score in calculating insurance premiums carries a severe economic consequence for working-class families. A person’s income or education has no bearing on driver safety or risk and only serves to reinforce existing inequalities,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “The pandemic has given new importance to how we determine eligibility. Millions of New Jerseyans are experiencing economic hardship; this will inevitably impact their credit scores, occupation, and employment status. This bill is critical to ensure people are not subject to increased premiums based on metrics that have nothing to do with driving, and it will ensure drivers are not subject to increased premiums based on unforeseeable consequences of the pandemic.”

 

The bill, S-111, would prohibit automobile insurers from assigning an insured or prospective insured person to a rating tier based on educational level, credit score, marital status, homeownership status, or employment, trade, business, occupation or profession.

 

“Newark has some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. Under our current laws car insurance companies are preying on New Jersey’s most vulnerable, charging low income customers significantly more regardless of their driving history. Every sponsor has done tremendous legwork to bring an end to this harmful practice. I am proud to have been a driving force in the final push to move this important legislation and to ensure it included prohibiting the use of credit scores,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Insurers should be basing their rates on the likelihood that someone will be in an accident, not his or her ability to pay for those damages out of pocket.”

 

“It is absurd that someone with a bad credit score pays more for car insurance than someone who has been convicted of a DUI,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We cannot allow insurers to continue basing rates on credit history or socioeconomic status rather than someone’s driving record.”

 

“We must stop penalizing people for being poor,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation will hold insurance companies accountable and help to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are given fair pricing for policies that are a requirement to drive.”

 

The bill would take effect 90 days after enactment.

(Visited 5 times, 5 visits today)

Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

Reasons You Can Be Denied for a Bad Credit Auto Loan

Published

on

Everyone’s situation varies, but there are some circumstances that bad credit auto lenders simply don’t accept. To give you an idea of what to expect when you apply for a car loan, here’s what subprime lenders tend to require and what situations they don’t accept when determining your eligibility for auto financing.

Job Situations and Bad Credit Car Loans

First, it’s important to note that all lenders have different work, income, and even residency requirements. However, if you’re applying with a bad credit car lender, also known as a subprime lender, they tend to follow similar guidelines for who they’re willing to approve for auto financing.

When it comes to your work situation and what type of income you’re bringing in each month, there are some situations that subprime lenders simply don’t accept.

No Income at All

If you’re not bringing in any income from a job or any other type of assistance, expect to be turned down. Any car lender, bad credit or not, is going to need you to provide proof that you have a stable income.

Some subprime lenders can accept income such as alimony, permanent disability, pension, and even public assistance – if you can prove that you’re going to receive it for the entire duration of your auto loan term, that is.

To get into a car loan, you must have provable, consistent income that can support the auto loan the whole time you’re repaying it.

Sparse Work History

This requirement can vary, but borrowers who haven’t held down the same job for around six months to a year can often be turned down for a car loan. Auto lenders typically also require you to have consistent work history over the last three years.

Subprime lenders look for stability in your work history and employment. The longer you’ve held the same job in the same line of work, the higher your chances of getting approved for a car loan.

Brand-New Job

If you just started a job in a new field, then a subprime lender may be hesitant to approve you for financing. Subprime lenders prefer borrowers who’ve been at the same job for at least six months to a year.

However, if you recently switched employers but it’s in the same line of work, then they’re more likely to be understanding of that situation.

Living Situations and Bad Credit Auto Loans

Situations That Can Deny You a Bad Credit Car LoanAlong with having work and income requirements, subprime lenders also take a look at your residence history. While living situations can vary greatly, they are again looking for stability.

A stable borrower is one that is more likely to repay their auto loan. So, the longer you’ve been living in the same area, the higher your chances for an approval. However, just because you’ve lived in the same town for 20 years doesn’t always mean you meet the residency requirements.

Here are a few living situations that subprime lenders probably won’t accept:

You’re Not a Homeowner or a Renter

To meet residency requirements, most subprime lenders require that you’re a homeowner or a renter. If you’re a homeowner, you must prove your residency with a recent utility bill in your name, or maybe even a home title in your name if you don’t have any utilities in your name.

If you’re a renter, then your name must be on the lease. You should also expect to need a recent utility bill in your name to prove your residence. Some lenders may even require a copy of a lease agreement, a mortgage statement, or a copy of a house payment/rent check.

However, if you live with relatives or you live at an apartment where your name isn’t on the lease, then it could be more difficult to qualify for a car loan. Subprime lenders require that their borrowers have a permanent address, with documents that prove that you live there. If you don’t have any utilities in your name, or your name isn’t on a lease or mortgage statement, then you could run into trouble getting approved for auto financing.

You Don’t Have a Permanent Address

Some people live in RVs, or even hotels, to accommodate a nomadic lifestyle. While having the flexibility to move wherever you’d like at the drop of a hat suits many people, the sad news is that these unconventional ways of life aren’t likely to meet the requirements of a car lender. Since your address isn’t permanent, it can make a subprime lender hesitant to approve you for financing.

Other Requirements of Subprime Lenders

There could be many different reasons why a lender can deny you for an auto loan. To help you be best prepared, here’s a list of other common requirements of subprime lenders:

  • Must have a cell phone or landline phone in your name (no prepaid phones)
  • Have to make a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price
  • Bring a list of five to eight personal references with complete contact information
  • Must have a valid driver’s license with your current address

Subprime Lenders and Bad Credit Car Dealerships

If your credit is worse for wear, you’re likely to have a better chance of getting approved for a car loan if you apply with a subprime auto lender, since they consider more than just your poor credit score while they determine your eligibility for a car loan.

Where are subprime lenders? They’re signed up with special finance dealerships, and they are more prominent nowadays. Here at Auto Credit Express, we know what dealers are signed up with subprime lenders, and we can look for one in your area at no cost.

Fill out our free auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealership near you with the bad credit lending resources you need.

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk/debug.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending