CNN’s Jena Six Investigation Airs Tonight

By Chris Ariens 

CNN’s Kyra Phillips anchors a special investigation tonight on the racially charged case in Jena, LA. Judgment in Jena takes a look at the “tensions within the small Louisiana town where whites and blacks have existed in the sort of separate-yet-civil existence typical of many rural Southern towns.”

Phillips gets interviews with the D.A. prosecuting case, the family members of the suspects, and the mother of the victim.

The coverage of today’s march in support of the Jena Six has already begun on CNN. American Morning’s Kiran Chetry spoke with the Rev. Jesse Jackson who will attend the rally.

Click continued to read the press release…


CNN Continues In-Depth Coverage on Racially Charged Events in Jena , La.

Top Correspondents Lead CNN’s Live Reports and Special Investigations Unit Documentary about ‘ Jena 6’
CNN, which has led broadcast networks in coverage of the “Jena 6,” will originate much of its programming this week from Jena, La. , where people from around the nation will gather on Thursday, Sept. 20, for a day of demonstrations.

On Thursday, CNN’s American Morning , CNN Newsroom and Anderson Cooper 360° will carry live reports from Jena on all of the latest developments. At 8 p.m. (ET), CNN will premiere a one-hour documentary, CNN: Special Investigations Unit – Judgment in Jena , an investigation reported by Kyra Phillips examining the complex issues of this case. In addition to Phillips, the network has moved Sean Callebs , Tony Harris, David Mattingly and Susan Roesgen to the town for live reports.

For Judgment in Jena, Phillips reports on racial tensions within the small Louisiana town where whites and blacks have existed in the sort of separate-yet-civil existence typical of many rural Southern towns. Phillips interviews local residents, who have split largely along color lines in their view of the students. She will ride along with radio personality Michael Baisden and protestors on a bus from Alexandria , La. , to Jena .

Phillips secured exclusive interviews with District Attorney Reed Walters, who decided to pursue the adult charges for the students, and with family members of the accused. In addition, the investigation includes an interview with the mother of the white student who was beaten, and an interview with U.S. Attorney Donald Washington, who explains the charges against the Jena 6 and why hate crimes charges were not applied against the noose hangers.

“The events in Jena have become a national touchstone in race relations,” said Jon Klein, president CNN/U.S., “As we do with all major stories, CNN is mobilizing massive resources to cover this story from every angle.”

Roesgen was among the first national reporters to investigate events surrounding the “Jena 6” – five Jena High School students and a sixth student who were arrested and charged as adults following the beating of a white student. The beating followed a series of incidents that began with nooses being hung from a campus tree. The original charges against some of the Jena 6 included attempted murder, although some of these were later reduced. Viewers can playback video from the network’s early reporting on this coverage at www.CNN.com/video using the keyword “ Jena .”

Also on Thursday, Callebs, one of CNN’s New Orleans-based correspondents, will report on Jena ’s preparations for the day’s demonstrations for American Morning beginning at 6 a.m. (ET). Harris will join Callebs at 9 a.m. and co-anchor the morning CNN Newsroom broadcast from Jena . Roesgen will continue coverage from various locations for CNN’s afternoon and evening broadcasts. Mattingly will contribute live reports from Jena for Anderson Cooper 360°.

CNN.com Live will carry all reports throughout the day of the key events.

This week’s extensive coverage is the culmination of CNN’s continuous investigative reporting on these events over the last few months. In July, Roesgen updated her original reporting with the felony sentencing of Mychal Bell of the Jena 6. To view this report, please visit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/07/01/roesgen.la.jena.6.update.affl .

To view Roesgen’s report on Bell ’s overturned conviction, please visit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/09/14/jenna.six.overturned.cnn .

On Sunday, Sept. 16, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux interviewed Bernice King and Martin King III on what the case may indicate about the state of modern race relations. For video of this interview, please visit www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2007/09/17/nr.king.intv.CNN .

David Fitzpatrick is the senior executive producer and Steve Robinson is managing editor for Judgment in Jena. Mark Nelson is the vice president and senior executive producer of CNN Productions. Jody Gottlieb is the executive director of CNN Productions.

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