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Do Missing Black Youth Get Media Coverage?

Updated on June 4, 2011

teen went missing december 2010

Phylicia Barnes: did girl get fair airplay?

After months of searches and appeals to the public, authorities confirmed last April, that a body found in a northeast Maryland river was that of Barnes, a North Carolina teen who went missing while visiting relatives in Baltimore over the Christmas holidays last year. Phylicia, only 16 years old, was an honors student who was due to graduate high school early and attend college this year.

This story brings up the sticky subject of the media coverage given to miissing teens and youth who just happen to be african-american, Does the media give the same coverage to missing black youth as it does to other missing youth? Could this young lady have been saved if more information about her disappearance was shared much earlier than it was. I am sure this discussion is a moot point for the thousands of Phylicias that go missing every year. Does the media have a responsibilty to help these families? is a website devoted to helping these families find their loved ones when hardly anybody else will. According to the webite,

"Black and Missing, Inc (BAM) has been established as a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color; provide vital resources and tools to missing person's families and friends and to educate the minority community on personal safety."

To my knowledge, The Tom Joyner Morning Show was one of the few media outlets to air information about the missing teen. Joyner along with Jacque Reid, a contributing journalist to the show, worked hard to get the word out and both were obviously disappointed about the outcome.


Missing African-American Youth

Do missing african-american Youth Get Enough Media Time?

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    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      We spend an estimated 300 million dollars a year on missing and exploited children. We spend 2 billion dollars a year on our pets.

      The national news media will only pick up a story about a missing child or teenager if they are forced by public outcry.....or if they can successfully sensationalize a unique that their ratings and advertising income goes up.

      It is all about the angle...keeping viewers or readers interested and making money....sadly.

      Your Hub brings up very hard questions that they can't answer...or at least answer truthfully.

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      7 years ago from US

      You probably do have a point and over a years investigating rapes of youths I have seen all but possibly less black or Hispanic, etc. Our main problem is really not who get the most attention as all should but to do to these guilty of abusing or harming our youth a punishment that will be a lesson to all. That is the answer, believe me.


    • varonny profile image

      Veronica Almeida 

      7 years ago from TORONTO

      An unfortunate truth and it is not just in U.S, I must say. Most cases of black teens and kids missing or killed do not get the same attention, as the famous Jane Creba case here in Toronto (2005), among others. Not to say she did't deserve the air time, put simply to mention that many other that same year and years after had the same fate and had no or little attention from the media..

      I am a Caucasian 23 year-old, mother of a beautiful little girl who's skin tone will not give her the same privilege I have. It is hard to imagine the attention I would probably have if something were to happen to me and the lack of media attention my own blood and flesh would have simply because my partner is African and so she has African roots. It irritates me to see realize media still perpetuates this mentality....


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