Study shows missing black children are less likely to appear in the news – Richmond, VA News
Posted: Aug 12, 2013 10:32 PM CDTUpdated: Aug 13, 2013 8:23 AM CDT

By Jessica Jaglois


RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -Missing children who are white are more likely to receive national news coverage than missing black children, according to a report out of Rowan University.

Almost half of the children who go missing every day are racial minorities, butaccording to the study those children are less likely to show up in the news.

It isn’t just race that plays a part. The report claims gender, age and family income are all factors.

Zandra and Lawrence Ford have been waiting for a break in their daughter’s case for three years. 20-year-old Arianna Davis, or “Peaches” as she’s called by her family, has been missing since April 30, 2010. The Fords say, people aren’t aware Peaches is still missing.

Arianna "Peaches" Davis

Arianna “Peaches” Davis


“People will come up to me and say, ‘I thought they found your daughter. I don’t hear about it anymore,'” said Lawrence Ford. “People think it’s over with.”

The report theorizes race effects how much media coverage a missing child gets. One-third of missing children are black, but they receive less than 20 percent of news coverage.

“What makes people more compelling to the media and its audience is the degree in which we think they are innocent,” said Andrea Simpson from the University of Richmond. “There may be a perception that African-American children aren’t as innocent.”

The study also shows it helps if the missing child is an attractive girl. Boys of either race are underrepresented in the news. It also helps if their family has money.

“A parent has to work very hard to keep their child’s story in the media and for poor people that may be a difficult thing to do,” said Simpson.

Elizabeth Smart was missing for nine months and appeared the news almost every day. Peaches’ initial disappearance was been covered on the local level and continues on anniversaries but her parents are afraid, she’s being forgotten.

“I’m not saying nobody is trying to help but we can do more,” said Zandra Ford. “A whole lot more.”

If you have any information on Peaches’ whereabouts, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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