The Cost of Ferguson

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Tshirts for sale, from Zazzle
Tshirts for sale, from Zazzle

It’s not secret the media coverage of the Ferguson shooting didn’t reveal a complete and honest picture of the incident. Eventually many “untold” stories about the incident began to pop up. But no one has discussed the untold story about the cost and the profitability of the incident. This story is important because the profitability in particular reveals the community’s engagement in the incident.

The Huffington Post did a series on “The Untold Story” of Ferguson. It shed light on the positive outcome of a tragedy like this shooting.

“The media’s job is to report not all that’s dreadful, corrupt, dysfunctional and violent in our world but what’s working, and the powerful and humane ways people in communities respond to that violence and corruption and dysfunction, “ Arianna Huffington said in the post.

It seems that the media, whether American or foreign, ignored this part of Ferguson’s story.

The impact of the Ferguson shooting has extended beyond the newsroom and into our wallets. The story prompted a worldwide discussion of multiple issues, most notably race and the media’s unfair coverage of it. And this division not only cost a lot, but also resulted in ways to make profit. It is estimated that the police response to this incident has cost taxpayers $5.7 million, according to the Washington Times. created Ferguson merchandise with sayings like “I love Ferguson” and a group even started a GoFundMe account to raise funds for Officer Darren Wilson, who resigned after he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The page raised approximately $235,000 dollars in support of Wilson.

Wanted Darren Wilson, from
Wanted Darren Wilson, from

But the media didn’t highlight these stories. This gave readers an incomplete picture of Ferguson. What were the positive things happening in response to a tragedy? How did the community support each other? What did this say about the community? These were the stories neglected by the media. But it seems through merchandise (whether for or against the incident at hand) and fundraisers, the community wanted to tell these stories when the media didn’t.

By Tamara Kraus, Evaldas Labanauskas, Armen Sargsyan


About Armen Sargsyan

Armen Sargsyan from Armenia is a television and film producer at the Media Initiatives Center, an organization promoting the dissemination of free and independent information in Armenia. Previously, Sargsyan hosted and produced TV shows and investigations on socioeconomic issues, as well as a weekly special series about Armenian elections that aired from 1996-2014. He managed international media projects about conflicts in South Caucasus, Armenia-Turkey rapprochement, cross-border dialogue films on war, social conflicts and cohesion. Sargsyan holds a State Diploma of Linguistics and Pedagogy and an Excellency Certificate of International Broadcast Journalism. During his Humphrey year, he wants to learn more about digital journalism, data visualization, media literacy and communication technologies.

View all posts by Armen Sargsyan →

7 Comments on “The Cost of Ferguson”

  1. Hi guys!

    I like your point of view a lot, totally unexpected approach to the topic.
    Keep going like that!


  2. I thought your point of view on this blog was refreshing. This really opened my eyes to something I didn’t notice before – the American commercialism of big news stories. It is sad to see people making money off of a tragedy.

  3. This is a very interesting approach on the topic, the information that you bring here build a suggestive perspective on the design of the American society. Thank you!


  4. Your fresh take on the story was provocative and opened up a new avenue for discussion about the commercialization of tragedy. As I mentioned, and this is not a criticism, but I would’ve loved to have seen a deeper interrogation of what that tells us about the culture at large. But, I enjoyed the original approach to the topic.

  5. Armen, Tamara and Evaldas,

    This unique focus on the economics of a tragedy is what constitutes truly enterprise journalism. The “thinking outside the box” approach. Well done. The group, however, appears to have (besides the two commercial websites) only looked at two media outlets: The Huffington Post & The Washington Times. Examining a variety would have definitely enriched your piece. That notwithstanding, my hats off for you folks for this clever take on the subject!

  6. Your approach to the topic was really interesting, I loved the quote from Arianna Huffington. I also had no idea that there were products related to Ferguson being sold and making a huge profit. I also had no idea that the incident had cost taxpayer $5.7 million, Great topic!

  7. Armen,Tamara and Evaldas,

    Its really interesting piece that all media outlets needed to realize from that side.Thank you for sharing your thoughtful prospective.

Comments are closed.