Washington reporter Cynthia Gordy has been in the thick of covering the Trayvon Martin story extensively for The Root, including last week’s presser with Trayvon’s parents in D.C. She is the publication’s “Blogging the Beltway” blogger. Just in the past week she was promoted to senior political correspondent. Her first foray into journalism was as an editorial assistant at Essence Magazine in New York. Later she became the publication’s first Washington correspondent. We caught up with her for the inside scoop.
1. What have been the most satisfying aspects of covering the Trayvon Martin story? The frustrating parts? Although The Root, as a publication, has reported hour-to-hour updates on the case over the past month, my personal contributions have been a bit different. Since my beat is national politics and policy, I’ve focused on the places where the story intersects with Washington. That has included the parents’ testimony on Capitol Hill, a look at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s role in pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country, as well as the corporations that have since pulled financial support from the organization, and President Obama‘s and Attorney General Eric Holder‘s comments on the situation.
I don’t know if “satisfying” is the word I would use, but it has been fascinating to watch the community-based mobilization around the case. Between millions of signatures on the change.org petition calling for an investigation, protest rallies, and phone calls to companies like Coca-Cola asking them to stop supporting ALEC, it showed that Americans of all backgrounds saw a problem. I think their pressure is part of what convinced Florida to take another look at the facts and evidence, eventually leading to an arrest.
2. How close have you gotten to the family in terms of reaching out to them and interviewing them? Are they amenable to interviews aside from those they are giving to Al Sharpton? I haven’t reached out to the family, but I’ve seen them speak at public appearances. Especially when the story became about whether or not their son was a “good kid” or a “bad kid,” it has been important for them to be a constant presence in the media to push back. They’ve given interviews to a range of outlets and journalists for that purpose, in addition to challenging misconceptions about their goals. As they said on Wednesday at the National Action Network convention, they aren’t out for revenge or trying to convict George Zimmerman without a trial. Their goal all along has been to get an arrest.
3. Most memorable White House moment? Read more