Media Storm After the Calm

Posted on Monday, July 30 2007 by Heather Brandon

Springfield Youth OlympicsEvents in Springfield over the weekend are now being treated to a range of media coverage, what some might call the first draft of history.

The first annual Springfield Youth Olympics took place at Springfield College during less-than-ideal weather conditions. ABC40 showed plenty of footage of the rain pounding the bleacher stands, commenting on the poor turnout.

Christian McCollum’s report in today’s Republican, on the other hand, doesn’t mention the weather or the turnout, but focuses on the significance of the weekend event in fostering a sense of community and showcasing abilities.

Springfield Youth OlympicsThankfully the site for the olympics provides plenty of photos of events both Friday and Saturday. The photos do not capture all the rain; it appears that because of the timing of ABC40′s appearance at the event, that was the main feature for their reporting team, and thus, it becomes the news.

Springfield Youth OlympicsWhat we’re not hearing is who won which events, especially since the officials quoted in McCollum’s article appear to spend their time patting themselves and each other on the back rather than talking about sports. The great pictures on the event’s site don’t have captions, but at least the medal ceremony is there for us in images.

A Hoop It Up event downtown was cited in some news reports about the Puerto Rican Day parade, such as a CBS3 report about public disorder afterwards, and a report in Friday’s Republican. Hoop It Up received its own coverage, however, from 22News, which actually spent a little time lingering at the three-on-three event and talking to participants. “Approximately 14″ people were arrested, according to today’s report in the Republican, which opted to cover the parade itself in a separate article.
Springfield Puerto Rican Day parade 2006

ABC40 also covered the parade, initially headlining it with the news about public disorder, whereas the report itself is rather upbeat. It includes a woman talking about how she was born in Springfield and so were her children, but she wants them to know where they come from. Being among the more recent ethnic-group arrivals to the northeastern US, Puerto Ricans may have closer contact with that history and perhaps also with each other compared to some groups of Americans of European or African descent.

MassLive.com’s Springfield forum is bursting with anonymous commentary about the parade event, ranging from people frustrated with the litter afterwards, to complaining that there is so much emphasis on Puerto Rican heritage and pride in Springfield, to criticisms of Police Commissioner Edward Flynn. Flynn showed up on the scene and was shown on camera saying the disorder wasn’t the parade’s fault, and it’s a learning opportunity for next year.

22News has probably the best footage showing how the reluctant-to-disperse crowds looked after the parade. In today’s article from the Republican about the arrests, Police Captain Joseph Parylak is quoted saying, “Once the agitators were arrested and the traffic was diverged, everything got quiet. Then the rain came and it all settled down.”

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