The organizer of one of Chicago's most popular annual parades -- and the nation's largest African-American parade -- is lashing out after a shooting wounded two teens and overshadowed the rest of the day's festivities.
The incident occurred around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, after two young men got into a confrontation near the route of the Bud Billiken Parade, leaving an 18-year-old shot in the arm and a 17-year-old shot in the right hand, CBS Chicago reports. Both teens survived and no arrests had been made, as of Monday evening.
The incident caused spectators at the 85th annual parade to scatter from the scene of what is typically a peaceful tradition revered in the community. Held to mark the end of summer and the arrival of the new school year, the parade attracted an estimated 1 million spectators and some 60,000 participants.
Beverly Reed-Scott, the parade's organizer, said at a Sunday news conference that, despite the violence, she was disappointed to see headlines about the parade focus on what she described as a "minor incident," per the Chicago Sun-Times.
Appearing on Fox Chicago on Monday, Reed-Scott said that coverage leading off with the shooting was "unfair to the thousands of children that practice six months waiting for this one day to have their moment to shine."
"The parade is for the families of the African-American community to celebrate going back to school and at the very least that could have been the lede in the story, not the shooting," Reed-Scott continued.
According to the Sun-Times, she said she "absolutely" believes if the Chicago media would stop covering violence, it would have an impact on the issue.
The parade shooting comes at a time when some are questioning the role local media coverage is having on gun violence in the city.
In an Aug. 5 story, the Columbia Journalism Review reported that many Chicago journalists are in agreement that too much "scoreboard" reporting on violence, focusing primarily on the sheer number of victims over a specific period of time, is taking place. They say coverage aimed at "humanizing" victims is better, but that it typically does not tackle the roots of violence.
Natalie Moore, a reporter for Chicago Public Radio, told the CJR she wonders what the purpose of media covering such violence is or should be.
“What do we want people to know? Are we just trying to tell them to avoid the neighborhoods with many homicides?” Moore said.
While violence in Chicago has been back in the spotlight since a particularly violent Fourth of July holiday weekend, the Chicago Police Department has noted that through the first half of the year murders citywide were actually at their lowest level since 1963.
At a City Council hearing this month, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy blamed the media for a "steady drumbeat of shootings, shootings, shootings, murder, murder, murder" that fails to give equal play to progress his department has made, according to DNAinfo.
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