What does lack of sex assault coverage mean?

The silence is deafening.

It sounds cliche, but I can think of no other way to describe the astounding lack of local media coverage of a reported sexual assault of a College at Brockport (SUNY) student by three men. The student was walking home on a village street and assaulted, according to reports.

The college media are covering it, as you can see here. But I have yet to see any mention of it in the mainstream media that covers the area. By the way, the mainstream media are located only about a half-hour away — less if you don’t drive at peak times.

How many days have passed? FOUR.

The College at Brockport did the right thing and made its students aware of the situation with a Campus Safety Alert e-mail. Thank goodness it did, because the community certainly isn’t learning about it through the mainstream media. (In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you I teach at The College at Brockport.)

But what happened to the local mainstream media?

I started wondering how on earth they could miss this big of a story and came to only one conclusion: the impact of the job cuts in the reporting industry are showing.

The Democrat & Chronicle, the local daily newspaper for this area, cut at least 59 jobs last year alone. It’s a Gannett company, so it also instituted the now-famous job furloughs.

The TV stations, with all due respect, appear to have been pretty thinly staffed since I arrived here a year ago.

So is missing the sexual assault of a college student the only thing the mainstream media have missed? I doubt it.

My hope is that as more and more stories are missed, media companies will realize they must hire more staff.

My fear is they simply don’t care.

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