Monday, May 25, 2009

Shrinking Newsrooms Hurts Abolitionist Movement

"Opponents of the death penalty looking to exonerate wrongly accused prisoners say their efforts have been hobbled by the dwindling size of America’s newsrooms, and particularly the disappearance of investigative reporting at many regional papers," the New York Times reports.

In the past, lawyers opposed to the death penalty often provided the broad outlines of cases to reporters, who then pursued witnesses and unearthed evidence.

Now, the lawyers complain, they have to do more of the work themselves and that means it often doesn’t get done. They say many fewer cases are being pursued by journalists, after a spate of exonerations several years ago based on the work of reporters.

The decline in newsroom resources has also hampered efforts by death-penalty opponents to search for irrefutable DNA evidence that an innocent person has been executed in America.