Hey, let's put faces on #CharlestonShooting victims, not wrap them in Confederate flag controversy

Earlier this week, I touted the strong coverage of the Charleston, S.C., church massacre by The Post and Courier, that community's Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper:

If you want one more reason to skip the national headlines and rely on the local coverage, compare how The Associated Press and The Post and Courier handled Thursday's first funerals for victims of the massacre.

This was the lede on the AP's national story:

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Police officers stood guard and checked bags as hundreds of people filed into a church Thursday for the first funeral for victims of the massacre at a historic black church.
The increased security comes amid a heated debate over the Confederate flag and other symbols of the Confederacy around the South and elsewhere. A monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis had the phrase "Black Lives Matter" spray-painted on it Thursday in Richmond, Virginia, the latest of several monuments to be defaced around the country.
The first funeral was for 70-year-old Ethel Lance, a Charleston native who had been a member of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for most of her life. Police say a gunman walked into the church during a Bible study June 17 and opened fire in a racially motived (sic) attack.

Yep, the national story is security. It's the Confederate flag controversy (which we discussed here at GetReligion yesterday). It really isn't the funeral or the victim, although if you keep reading, AP provides a few scarce details about each.

Meanwhile, this is the front page of today's Post and Courier:

And yep, the Charleston newspaper actually listened to what was said at the funeral — and reports on it:

Last week, Nadine Collier stood up at the bond hearing for the man who’s accused of murdering her mother, Ethel Lance, and eight others at Emanuel AME Church on Wednesday, to say that she forgave him, that she hoped God had mercy on his soul.
On Thursday, Lance’s grandchildren continued to illustrate the family’s strength and love as five of them paid tribute to the woman they knew as “Granny” at her funeral service at Royal Missionary Baptist Church, a large sanctuary in North Charleston.
“She was a victim of hate, but she can be a symbol of love,” said Brandon Risher, the oldest of Lance’s grandchildren.
Aja Risher, a granddaughter, shared the same message, adding that she wants her grandmother to be remembered as a “catalyst for this country to change,” and not for being “one of nine victims, but that she is one of nine guardian angels ... watching over everybody.”

Host Todd Wilken and I discuss the local vs. national coverage in this week's episode of "Crossroads," the GetReligion podcast:

Wilken and I also spend a few minutes talking about the lack of media coverage on the Christian faith of NBC's new top anchor Lester Holt:

Click here to tune in.

As always, the smooth, relaxing Oklahoma accent is free.

P.S. Thanks to my friend Cheryl Bacon for this link. Really interesting slice of life on how local newspapers across the nation take care of each other — with pizza:

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