[Lazy Media] A story about the rise in cheating, shoplifting, plagiarism and other ethical and criminal misdeeds among high school students (64 percent reported cheating on a school test in the past year; 36 percent acknowledged using the Internet to plagiarize someone else's work) got the Utah mainstream media (MSM) scrambling for that all-important "local angle."
KSL radio reporter Mary Richards got herself straight over to Salt Lake City's West High School--a whole two blocks from the broadcast studio, and interviewed a freshman who was shocked by the news. OK, fine.
Call me an oversensitive mom. Both of my children are products of West High. The oldest graduated in 2006; the youngest will finish in the spring. As sure as you can count on tulips popping up every April, every time the Salt Lake City MSM needs a local prop for some horrendous national teen-trend piece, a reporter trots on over to West to illustrate the issue. Why? It's two blocks from KSL Broadcast House. It's 3/4 of a mile from KUTV's studio. It's three blocks from The Salt Lake Tribune and about 1/2 mile from the Deseret News.
Meanwhile, the image of West as some lab for social miscreants* builds. In the cheating and shoplifting story, the freshman wasn't targeted as a criminal. She was, though, associated with the national story through her comments. I'm pretty sure West High comes across in this city/state as THE ONLY place for roving thugs, gangs and troubled teens--largely because downtown reporters are too lazy to drive more than a mile to get their angle.
BTW, East High School is only three miles from KSL's studio. Highland High is a whole five miles away. And Skyline High? Downtown-based reporters would have to hop on the freeway to get there, but it's only a 15-minute ride. (Holly Mullen)
*Those social miscreants in the above photo are not from West High, but if you follow the local news they could be.