The end has come to one of the most publicized missing children cases ever. This time, there was a happy ending when 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart was found and returned to her family.
Since she was found on Wednesday, coverage of the case has dominated all other news. It must be difficult for a young girl to recover from being apart from her family for nine months. The constant media coverage of her return home must make her recovery even harder.
She can’t exactly act like a normal teenager and watch the television because she’ll see herself or her family on every channel. Coverage of her kidnapping is among the top headlines nationwide, and it must be even more prominent news in Utah, where she lives.
Smart has been through an emotionally trying situation, and her nine-month ordeal warrants at least that much recovery time. If the media would back off of her position, and maybe even focus the stories less on her and more on the kidnapper, she will have a better chance at normalcy.
How far will the coverage go? Will reporters accompany her on her first day back to school? Will they follow the family as they try to have a night out?
The only way for Smart to recover will be to live her life as close to normal as she can. To do that, she can’t continue to see her face on the front of the newspaper.
It’s been five days since she was found, and the coverage hasn’t stopped. The headlines haven’t even changed from “Elizabeth Smart found.” Until there is new news on the case the overage should cease.
The media can do its job by covering everything that is news worthy and not just the same story. Reporters should do the Smart family a favor and allow them to reconnect without being in the public eye.