Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Covering Crime

Madison DeChellis

Curiosity is one of the most important traits to have as a journalist. When you are driving and see an accident, or see a building is on fire, we always are curious as to what happened, who was involved and how it happened. Breaking news is more demanding than ever, according to crime editors. With social media being at the palm of our hands, we are more knowledgeable and in the loop than ever before.

Crime Journalism vs. Social Media'
After reading the article about crime coverage requiring constantly "feeding the beast," it really made me think about every way to go about covering crimes appropriately while still telling a story. Is it appropriate to publish a Facebook Live video of someone getting shot if it's showing exactly what happened? Social media has really taken a toll on breaking news stories. According to the article, social media status updates have replaced the old newsroom din of cop radio chatter and clacking wire machines.

"Every citizen with a camera phone at a breaking news event is potential competition." As big as today's society is on social media, it is very easy to hear news via social media before an article or video comes out on ABC or CBS. Blogging also plays a big role on covering crimes. When posting blog posts and social media updates, there is not an editor or anyone to proofread or look over factual errors. This is where rumors occur and people get wrong information on breaking news.

According to the article "Obstruction of Journalism," technology provides law enforcement with ways to keep information private that was once public. Certain police departments are making the media pay to access certain information. "Technology, social media and protests have combined to increase strain in reporter-police relations."

Harm vs. Truth
While there is a fine line between telling the truth and reporting on something very traumatizing, there are many things to consider. The article, "How The Media Treated Me" gave insight on how people involved in crime dealt with the reporters. A case that dealt with a family member who was raped and murdered didn't talk to the press when it first happened. "I told the reporters I wanted to use them, we used each other and it was the start to a wonderful relationship." The family member said the media takes whatever you give them, if you give them a little bit of information, that is all they will get.

So, what is the future of crime journalism? According to Newsday's Smith, the future of criminal justice reporting in in flux. Sites still need to find the balance of breaking news stories that dig deeper than just what happened. Technology and tradition go hand and hand, but technology seems to have overpowered tradition in these journalistic cases. This is where ethics comes into play. Anyone writing up a blog or status can say what they want without using the codes of ethics journalists use. As educated journalists, we know where to draw the line while still providing the truth.

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