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What the publicity of Gabby Petito case has taught us

The disappearance and death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito has dominated headlines since she was declared missing on Sept. 11, 2021. The case, still unsolved, has left many anxiously waiting for justice to be served. 

As the case continues to develop, many news outlets and journalists have brought up a very important, and very depressing point: even though Petito’s case has received the most publicity, it is, unfortunately, not unique. 

A quick search among any news site will explain the facts and statistics behind the lack of media coverage for missing persons of minority groups, and how critical media coverage can be to solving a case, so I’d like to provide something more actionable to the conversation. 

How can we help the families of those who aren’t getting coverage? 

  • Interact

The first, and most simple, action you can take is to use social media. If you see a post from a family member trying to get their relative’s case into the public, like it, leave a supportive comment and follow their page. Simply interacting with these posts will push the algorithm to show more people, thus opening the family up to more resources. 

1. Donate

The next step you can take is to donate some of your time. I say this broadly because every case needs something different, but there is almost always a way you can help in just a few minutes.

Sign petitions, share posts, donate a few dollars to a GoFundMe (check that they are legitimate first) anything that needs public interaction. I personally have participated in making phone calls and writing emails to government officials for a few families who asked the public to do so. If you’re worried about what to say, you can look up simple scripts to find the right words.

2. Reach out

If you want to get even more involved then there are several ways to do just that. 

This is harder to do with cases that are further away, but not impossible. If there is a case like this in your community, don’t be afraid to reach out to the family to offer your assistance. Participate in vigils, marches, searches or anything that the family needs. If you are further away, offer them a platform. Do you have a podcast or know someone who does? Do you have connections to someone on the radio or have a pretty popular social media profile? Any of these media outlets can do wonders for a case in need of some more attention.

3. Be respectful 

Finally, with any of these actions, be respectful and don’t be a source of misinformation.

Cases like these are entertaining from the outside, but we all have to remember that there are real people involved in these tragedies real families are losing real loved ones and being subjected to the public eye.

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