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"The Doe Network" : International Center for Unidentified & Missing Persons
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Doe Network : "Media Coverage of Missing Persons"

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Cases of missing people, especially children, seem to be everywhere. They are in the national news, on fliers in the mail, and on the internet. However, these are just a fraction of the cases that occur around the country every day. Why is it that some cases get the national coverage that all cases deserve? This is a question that Iíve asked myself time and time again.

When I first came upon The Doe Network website about 4 years ago, I was looking for cases for my own website. I was shocked at how many cases that Doe had, that werenít even on NCMEC. I was always under the assumption that all missing childrenísí cases were there. As Doe grew, and more and more cases were added, I was amazed by how many cases I had never heard of, even though I always followed missing personís cases on the internet.

As the last few years went on, and we heard about Laci Peterson, Dru Sjodin, Danielle VanDam, Carlie Brucia, and other very high profile cases, I wondered why the others werenít getting the national coverage. Just last week, remains were found in New Jersey of a woman who had been missing here for 10 months. It wasnít until her remains were found that I even heard her name, and even then it was merely a clip of information. It doesnít seem fair to me. If this woman had been alive, and Iíd seen her somewhere, I wouldnít have known she had been reported missing. Unfortunately, itís usually the middle class caucasian missing person that usually gets the most media attention. Does the media pick out those cases to show us that ďit can happen to anyoneĒ? Iím not really sure, but it definitely shouldnít be so. This isnít always the case; it just seems to be a pattern in missing personís cases.

Media prejudice from one case to another isnít only in missing cases. Other crimes suffer the same fate, one getting a huge amount of exposure, and others fading into the background. We all know about Jonbenet Ramsey, but Iím sure few of us have heard the names Stephanie Crowe or Staci Leigh Weinstein. Those small girls were also both murdered in their homes, both by intruders. Why do we hear about one, but not the others?

Fortunately, with websites like The Doe Network, we can do our best to get exposure to all of the cases, at least on the internet. We can take our own local cases and go to the media on an anniversary of a disappearance, or a missing personís birthday. We can do what we can in our own areas to make sure that at least, the local cases are seen. Hopefully, the media will begin to treat crimes with an equal amount of urgency, and more cases will be seen, and solved.

Author: Dana Gonzalez



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