| Crime |

Does Denver media care more when white people are shot?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Yesterday's Denver-based TV newscasts were top-heavy with packages about a failed murder-suicide involving Randall Waggoner, 38, and Christina Waggoner, 35, both of Highlands Ranch -- and this morning, the reports remain high on the list of local stories accessible at the web homes of Channel 7 and Channel 9, among other outlets. Indeed, the tale got more coverage than most of the 23 Denver-area murders collected in a Tuesday blog even though neither of the Waggoners are dead; the latest updates say they remain in critical condition.

Why? The circumstances were certainly unusual: the shootings took place during the day on highly traveled West Mineral Avenue, causing traffic problems for hours. But other factors make it stand out, too -- namely, that the Waggoners are white, unlike nineteen of the 23 Denver homicide victims noted above, and they live in the sort of affluent area that's uncommon among most of those murdered in Denver thus far in 2009. Maybe it's sheer coincidence that folks like these tend to capture the press's attention to a greater degree than, say, an underemployed Hispanic man killed in a bar fight. But it's naive to pretend that such elements don't come into play, consciously or not.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.