Several news values have been reflected in the news article, “How to raise African-American boys like Trayvon Martin to be careful, but not paranoid.” One of the first news values that could be identified in this particular article was the value of impact. Clearly, this article will have a strong impact on the African-American population in general, especially those with children. After the shooting of Trayvon Martin, many parents have started questioning whether or not their methods in raising their children are efficient. At one point in the article, the author tells the story of one African-American male who had “Just turned 22 and was now out of the most vulnerable demographic group-African-American males between 13 and 21. Statistics indicate that this is the group most vulnerable to violent death.” From this particular statement in the article, it is clear that this story reflects the value of impact. Specifically, African-American parents, children, and the African-American population in general might have experienced forms of injustice at a point in their life or worried that they are at a greater risk of experiencing violence in today’s society. At another point in the article, the value of impact can be identified as the author writes, “We, like the parents of many African-American children, have had to teach our son specific strategies to be safe. We have tried to impart a perspective that is careful but not paranoid. We pray it will be enough.” This article could potentially impact parents who typically tend to fear for their children’s safety.
A second type of news value that is reflected in this news article is the value of weight. An example of the value of weight can be examined from the author’s statement, “No matter the outcome of the controversy surrounding the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida late this February, the tragedy has opened a dialogue on broader issues.” The loss of a life is newsworthy material and it is evident that many individuals, specifically African-American individuals, have clearly been affected by the death of Trayvon Martin. The death of Trayvon Martin also brought about several other questions regarding the safety of children, particularly African-American children, into the public eye.
A third value that can be identified in this news article is the value of emotion. Throughout this article, different stories are shared about parents who have feared for their children’s safety, or who have heard of their children, particularly African-American children, facing some form of injustice because of their race. One example of emotion in this article can be identified when the author mentions Trayvon Martin’s death and how many broader issues have come to surface as a result of the fatal shooting. It is clear that many individuals have been affected in some way by the fatal shooting of Trayon Martin. Another example of emotion in this news article can be recognized as parents share different reasons for why they might fear for their child’s safety. For example, at one point, the author writes, “Our son has ‘made it’ to 25, and I am so grateful. But I still worry about him and all the other young men without his kind of family support and without his good luck. How will they stay safe?” From this specific example, readers, specifically those with children, might be affected emotionally because of the fact that the safety of children in today’s society is a large concern.
Currency is another type of value that can be identified in this news article. As a result of Trayvon Martin’s fatal shooting recently, parents, or African-American parents, have started to become even more concerned for their children’s safety in today’s society. It is evident that this particular news article is taking into account what is on the minds of many people. One example of currency in this article can be observed when the author states, “One is the unique challenge parents face in teaching African-American children to be safe but not fearful.” From this particular statement, it is evident that this issue of safety has been on the minds of several parents, making it a newsworthy topic.
Usefulness is a fifth type of value that can be examined in this news article. Specifically, this specific article might be useful to those parents who are looking for advice on ways to increase their children’s safety or ways in which they might be able to go about protecting their children in the correct manner. At one point in the article, the author states, “When my children were little and said, ‘That’s not fair,’ I reminded them that there is a difference between ‘not fair’ and ‘I don’t like it.’ We don’t like a lot of things that have little to do with fairness, and even unfairness can be pretty random.” The author provides advice on one way in which parents might be able to handle their children’s safety. Another example of usefulness in this news article can be recognized when the author states, “Life doesn’t provide a smooth path no matter what our heritage. A sense of self worth and basic good sense will help al kids navigate their experiences more peacefully, regardless of the obstacles, but even this will not always insure their safety.” By reading this article, parents who are concerned about their children’s safety might be able to find different types of useful advice.
It is clear that five values in particular, or impact, weight, emotion, currency and usefulness are common throughout this news article. Each of these values functions in different ways, but are useful in helping to determine the newsworthy elements of this particular news article.
If I were to create a follow up story for this particular news article and topic, I might create a story that focuses on the parents of Trayvon Martin and how they feel about the safety of African-American children. Specifically, I might attempt to get the parents of Martin to respond to statements of the author in the news article, “How to raise African-American boys like Trayvon Martin to be careful, but not paranoid” and whether or not the parents of Martin could offer further advice for parents.