Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Most Memorable Mediated Experience


My most memorable mediated experience occurred last week when I read about the eight year old boy who was kidnapped, and later murdered in Borough Park.

This horrifying news came as a shock to me. I woke up that morning and went to check my phone- like I always do- and saw a numerous amount of Facebook posts about a boy named Leiby Kletzky. They didn’t give much information about why they were all posting about this boy; all it said was our hearts go out to you. As I continued reading it dawned on me that adults put all of these posts up. I found this strange and all the more confusing. Being that I was not getting any significant information from this, I got out of bed and was ready to move on with my day. That was until I saw the New York Post headline that read; “Leiby Kletzky fought for his life against Levi Aron”

In a split second my mind was racing and I was already experiencing intrapersonal communication. I was asking myself “can this be? Is this the same eight-year-old Leiby from Burough Park that is all over Facebook? What actually happened?” I needed to know the answers to these questions so I picked up the paper and read the article as fast as I could. Leiby was lost and trying to find his way home when a thirty-five- year old man saw this and kidnapped him.

The article mentioned how the Members in the Jewish community gathered over $100,000 in reward for the return of the young boy only to discover that they were too late.”- Alicia Ramsay, July 16, 2011. (2) This generous action demonstrates the point made by S. Barron, in his book, What is Culture? In his book, he defines culture as well as proves that it can unite us as well as divide us.(4) This was definitely an example of how the culture was becoming untied through their donating money to try and save this boy. Unfortunately they were too late.

With every day that passed, this story was more prominent in the media. The press used mediums such as newspapers, televisions and the Internet to publicize the story. What started out as one family’s prayers and hopes, which were merely interpersonal communication, ultimately turned into mass communications to most New Yorkers.

The SMCR, Sender Message Channel Receiver model (3) explains how this tragic story reached me (and everyone else who read the paper that morning.) In this case the Senders were the journalists and News Paper companies who issued the newspapers. The message was that a young Hassidic boy, named Leiby was kidnapped, only to be found murdered days later with his body dismembered. The Channel that was used were local newspapers. The Receivers were all those people who picked up a newspaper that morning to read the disturbing article.

Unfortunately this mass communication of the event supposedly led the kidnapper to panic and eventually kill Leiby. After he murdered him, he butchered his body and tried to hide most of it in a red suitcase that was later found by the police.

In this case the media had a big part in shaping my understanding of this event. Being media literate, when I first read it on Facebook I didn’t really care about the story because news that people post on it, aren’t always so reliable. Once I saw it in the newspaper I believed that it was something important and shocking that happened. Leiby's photo on the front page was awful and made my jaw drop. I know that in the article it stated his age but shock didn't hit me at such a high magnitude until I actually saw his face, he just looked so young. I have a younger brother who just turned ten years old, he's only two years older than Leiby. Many disturbing thoughts about this started filling my head at that point. I just couldn't imagine what it would be like if that was my family in the newspaper. The picture made it all so real for me, it made me associate the story with a face. This boy was real, and he was murdered. I don't normally get a connection like that to many other news articles I read. Seeing Leiby's face just made it all so real for me.


1. "Leiby Kletzky Murder." World Of Enjoy | World News , Videos and Movies. Web. 27 July 2011.

2."Brooklyn Most Horrible Crime: Jewish Boy, 8, Murdered and Cut into Pieces »" » Just Another Web Transient. Web. 27 July 2011. .

3. Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living in a Media World. Washington, D.C.: CQ, 2008. Print. Page 17

4. What is Culture?, S. Barron


  1. This tragic story of a young chassidic boy being kidnaped and killed hit me very hard because i am a Jew myself. As Susan mentioned, this event united this Jewish community, but to go even furthur i think it united the Jewish people as a whole. I come from a community with different traditions than the Chassidic community which divides us, but once my community herd about this event, they congregated and prayed for this young boy. This showed me that although my level of Judiasm seperated me from the Chassidic people my whole life, this one tragic event actually help the Jews forget where we are in Judiasm and just remeber that we are all Jewish. Baron, the author of "What is Culture" recognized the effects of culture. In this case, culture seemed to unite the Jewish people.


  3. I remember the morning that I saw the New York Post and the headline was something along the lines of "Boy Lost in Brooklyn." Then later that day during dinner, my friend, who works in a Brooklyn councilman's office, told me that they'd found him and he was dead. That sparked a conversation about the concentrated neighborhoods of Jews in Brooklyn, namely Borough Park. My other friend, who we were eating with, proceeded to spew out some of the most racist remarks I've ever heard. Apparently she had had some bad experiences. It is interesting to note that where and how you grew up can change your opinion on a certain group of people and can also diminish your respect and sympathy for a certain little boy and his family because they happen to belong to that group of people.

  4. When I heard the horrible news I was very surprised not only by the fact that a boy was kidnaped and murdered but by who he was kidnaped and murdered by. We never see a Jew committing criminal offenses like this everyday. The media is in charge of putting this information out to the public. However, the public decides how to view this tragic event. Stereotypes and judgement now play an important role. People start to make racial comments and start viewing the Jewish community a different way.

  5. The day I got to New York this had happened and I have to admit I couldn't help but think of it as a bad sign. I didn't have anything to do the first few days I was here and I remember watching news reel after news reel and hoping that he would be returned to his parents. The fact that the attention this got caused Aron to do what he did is so sad and makes you realize there is no perfect way of handling these type of situations.