Articles about "Police and crime reporting"


Police Shooting Missouri

Cop to reporter: ‘You’re going to be in my jail cell tonight’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories. Maybe it’s not really 10. Let’s not dwell on specifics.

  1. Reporters arrested, assaulted in Ferguson: Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly were arrested Wednesday night while covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (Poynter) | They were working in a McDonald’s when police ordered them to leave. Both started documenting the transaction on their phones. Lowery said one cop slammed him into a soda fountain after his bag slipped off his shoulder and he ducked down to get it; Reilly said a cop pushed him into a plate-glass window and “sarcastically apologized.” (HuffPost) | In his account of his arrest, Lowery writes that he told an arresting officer “This story’s going to get out there.
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Public usually has right to know names of officers who used deadly force, court rules

Los Angeles Times

“Vague safety concerns” don’t trump the public’s right to know the names of officers involved in shootings, the Supreme Court of California ruled Thursday. The justices were responding to a case that arose from the Los Angeles Times’ efforts to learn the names of officers in Long Beach, California, who shot Douglas Zerby, a 35-year-old man holding a garden hose nozzle, 12 times.

The Long Beach Police Officers Association argued that releasing the names “would endanger officers and their families because home addresses and telephone numbers can be obtained on the Internet,” Maura Dolan reports in the L.A. Times.

The ruling says that “if it is essential to protect an officer‘s anonymity for safety reasons or for reasons peculiar to the officer’s duties” — if the officer is undercover, perhaps — “then the public interest in disclosure of the officer‘s name may need to give way.” But that didn’t apply in the Zerby case, the court said.… Read more

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Two students comfort each other during a candlelight vigil held to honor the victims of Friday night's mass shooting on Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Isla Vista, Calif. Sheriff's officials say Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a rampage near the University of California, Santa Barbara, stabbing three people to death at his apartment before shooting and killing three more in a crime spree through a nearby neighborhood. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The right way to publish a killer’s deranged manifesto

There’s a democratic value to publishing and referencing Elliot Rodger’s manifesto. The 22-year-old mass murderer left us a 141-page window into his deranged thinking.

But don’t just publish it, add context. Perhaps the most valuable thing journalists can do would be to get psychiatrists and psychologists to annotate the document. (Though perhaps you wouldn’t want to annotate it like this.)

Art Caplan, head of the bioethics division at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, advocates the same approach when considering the publication of medical research produced by Nazi doctors. By explaining the flaws behind information, we contribute to an improving body of knowledge while neutralizing the potential of perpetuating harm.

“Make it clear this is the raving of a devious and delusional mind,” Caplan said of Rodger’s manifesto.… Read more

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Students are escorted as they leave the campus of the Franklin Regional School District after more then a dozen students were stabbed by a knife wielding suspect at nearby Franklin Regional High School on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Murrysville, Pa., near Pittsburgh. The suspect, a male student, was taken into custody and is being questioned. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

How to cover what comes next in the Pennsylvania school stabbing case

Pittsburgh-area newsrooms now must live through the reality of covering a mass casualty attack, just as journalists near Fort Hood, Texas, did last week.

They will seek answers about how a student at the Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville, Penn., slashed and stabbed 20 people Wednesday morning. For months, journalists will tell stories of heroism and panic, of missed signals and critiques of school security. Sadly, other journalists have been through this. I asked them to help guide us through the coverage ahead.

Lessons from Newtown

Josh Kovner-Reporter, Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant reporter Josh Kovner co-authored the paper’s reports that profiled Adam Lanza, the troubled 20-year-old who committed the second deadliest school shooting in American history. Kovner’s and Alaine Griffin’s reporting of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School was part of a partnership with PBS Frontline.… Read more

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No-knock policy bars TV station staff from rapping on crime suspects’ doors

A Houston television station is telling its staff not to knock on the doors of crime suspects. The station issued a memo saying it is too big a risk to journalists’ safety, but others see the move as a way for stations to protect themselves legally. And the president of the Society of Professional Journalists says such a broad order may result in weaker journalism that could be unfair to people accused of crimes.

KTRK-TV Houston News Director David Strickland issued the order to his staff after  reporter Demond Fernandez knocked on the door of a man accused of child sex abuse. The man told the TV crew to turn off the camera (which they didn’t) then he produced a gun.

Strickland wrote to his staff:

I know this will come off as opportunistic in the wake of today but I’ll allow my vanity to take the hit.

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Reporter undergoes deployment of Taser technology

The Herald-Journal

Daniel Gross of the (Spartanburg, S.C.) Herald-Journal took a citizen’s police academy course and volunteered to feel what it’s like to have a Taser deployed upon him.

He remembers the experience:

I recall instantly feeling an endless, relentless, sheer and utter pain jolting through my body.

Two sharp prongs felt as if they went deep under my skin, tearing havoc throughout my insides for five continuous seconds. Those five seconds felt like five years.

In the video below, you can see Gross lie on the ground afterward while the cops try to soothe him. “Ready to go again?” one of them asks him, presumably joking.

Jim Spellman, at the time a CNN producer, got zapped by a Taser for a 2008 segment. Spellman told Nicole Lapin it “hurt like the dickens.”

In his account of the Taser incident, Gross advised readers to “think twice about fleeing from or fighting with an officer” equipped with a Taser.… Read more

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Joe McGinniss, scourge of politicos and chronicler of crime, dies at 71

Associated Press | Los Angeles Times 


Stories about author-journalist Joe McGinniss are re-emerging in the wake of news that he died Monday in a Worcester, Mass., hospital from complications of prostate cancer.

He once moved next door to Sarah Palin to gather material for his unauthorized biography about her, according to the Associated Press. The subject of his best-selling book, “Fatal Vision,” sued him, claiming McGinniss tricked him into believing the convicted murderer was innocent. McGinniss’ publisher settled out of court for $325,000.

Associated Press reported:

The tall, talkative McGinniss had early dreams of becoming a sports reporter and wrote books about soccer, horse racing and travel. But he was best known for two works that became touchstones in their respective genres — campaign books (”The Selling of the President”) and true crime (”Fatal Vision”).

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Ohio newspaper thief makes daring escape on bicycle

Dayton Daily News

On Sunday at 6 a.m., a man stole an “entire stack of Dayton Daily News that had just been delivered” to a service station, the Dayton Daily News reports. The suspect “was riding a bicycle and carried the newspapers in his hand.”

I have no sense of the intensity with which the Dayton Police Department is approaching this investigation, but they could take a tip or ten from the Dallas Morning News, which is perhaps a newspaper thief’s biggest nightmare.

In January, Marina Trahan Martinez published security video of someone appearing to steal David Miller’s copy of the Morning News. He’d lost 38 papers to the scoundrel, he told Trahan Martinez: “I now sleep with my cell phone beside me as it chimes when the motion detector is triggered.”

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For 7 years, L.A. Times’ Homicide Report has wrested stories from grim data

We’ve heard a lot about Chris and Laura Amico’s Homicide Watch – and for good reason. The site tracks homicides in Washington, D.C., (and, as of just over a year ago, Chicago and Trenton) from police report to conviction, giving victims and communities attention and coverage that local papers don’t have space or staff to.

It’s a valuable resource, the success of which has inspired other news outlets to embark on similar projects. But Homicide Watch had its own inspiration: the Los Angeles Times’ Homicide Report.

“When we started brainstorming Homicide Watch in 2009, we tried to draw lessons from existing crime mapping and homicide tracking projects,” Chris Amico says. “The two that always stick out are the L.A. Times’ Homicide Report and the Oakland Tribune’s Not Just a Number (we also drew ideas from the L.A.… Read more

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Crime scene

Hyperbolic to sensitive, how news outlets treated dramatic car crash video

The 55-second cell-phone video of an SUV going the wrong way on the Interstate, smashing into a sedan and exploding into a fiery ball that killed five people quickly sky-rocketed to one of the most viewed videos ever on the Tampa Bay Times’ website. It’s also a case study to examine how different newsrooms treat difficult content.

The Tampa Bay Times, which Poynter owns, ran the whole video, unedited, along with the sound. The Tampa Tribune ran the video without the sound. WTSP and WFLA used small portions of the video in a package, but then stopped using it, as did Fox 13. ABC Action News used a tight clip of the video in two packages. Bay News 9 ran the video but truncated it before the crash.… Read more

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