Reporting on Jessica Ridgeway’s death needed more context and analysis

We’d like to begin by expressing our deepest condolences to the family of Jessica Ridgeway. The terrible crime committed against Jessica serves to illustrate the horrific truth that we cannot escape the such atrocities, even in our own communities.

The media coverage of Jessica’s disappearance and discovering her remains was largely sensationalized, however, and did little for the viewers and readership of the media other than instill fear into the hearts of parents across Colorado.


While reporting on Jessica’s story, the facts of the case were often reported without providing nearly enough context or analysis to answer the questions that your viewers really need to know.

Like how often kidnappings like these happen? Why do things like this happen? Where is it most likely to happen? How at risk are you and your family? And what steps can be taken to avoid a similar situation?

While media outlets were racing to report on the discovery of Jessica’s dismembered body first, the predator is still at large — and all our community receives is an uncontextualized fear inspired by our journalists to increase their pick-up rates.

It’s almost as if in the process of reporting, they forgot they were talking about a child’s life — not just the headlines of today. The death of Jessica Ridgeway is not entertainment, it’s a tragedy.

The right way to report on tragedies is to focus on the future prevention of such attacks. To focus on ways that we as a society, as well as individuals, can take steps to ensure our family’s safety.