Hutchins: Some Colorado newspapers are rethinking criminal justice coverage

The Colorado Sun: In 1864, when U.S. cavalry troops slaughtered more than 100 Cheyenne and Arapaho in what became known as the Sand Creek Massacre, The Rocky Mountain News didn’t report it as a mass murder on behalf of white settlers. Instead, the newspaper heralded the soldiers for what it called a “needed whipping” — and it slurred the tribes. 

So tells the 2011 book “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.” In it, authors Juan Gonzales and Joseph Torres point to the Rocky’s coverage of the massacre — and its portrayal of American Indians leading up to it — as an example of how stories that ran across the early Associated Press wire “influenced national perceptions of race.”

A couple weeks ago, Torres spoke on a webinar with dozens of Colorado journalists about a legacy of media harm — and also current efforts to acknowledge and repair it.

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