State Change Pushed by Journalism

A Missouri statewide audit found more than 6,000 untested rape kits across the state. That is over 6,000 people waiting for answers and a huge piece of their lives just sitting on a shelf awaiting testing.

What prompted the audit? Actually, it was a Columbia Missourian article that called out the state for its unknown number of untested SAFE kits in the state. The General Attorney at the time, Josh Hawley, said they would begin an audit to find the number of untested kits after the article was published and gained some popularity. A year later, I covered the announcement of the General Attorney’s office that they had found approximately 6,900 untested kits. (Click here for the story)

To me, this shows the power of journalism– more specifically, the power of journalists to be the watchdog and call out wrongdoings of people in power, the government, or what have you. The journalist’s work caused the state to look further into the issue and begin work on the thousands of kits just sitting there. One woman’s written work pushed for that! And to me, that is pretty cool.

I think it’s important to note that journalists cannot and should not always expect change from their work, but should be aware that there is definitely potential for change and reform through one’s work. And this was an example of that.