Articles about "Police and crime reporting"


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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Handcuffed (Depositphotos)

College papers dropping arrestee names from crime blotters

Those arrested on the University of Connecticut campus this academic year may not feel lucky, but actually they are catching a break. Their arrests are being published in the student-run campus daily newspaper as has been typical for decades, but their names are not being made public.

In the fall of 2013, UCONN student editors ended — at least for this academic year — The Daily Campus’ long-standing practice of publishing names in its regular Police Blotter feature.  The change elicited some sharp questions from members of the paper’s board of directors, some head-shaking and exasperation from the journalism faculty and an apparent tweet by a former Daily Campus staffer who labeled the change as “lame.”

Emotional responses and resistance to change notwithstanding, UCONN’s student journalists are far from alone in considering whether to follow past practices when the Internet has bestowed immortality and eased access to all types of information. Read more

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This July 20, 2012 file photo shows police outside of a Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo. after a shooting during the showing of a movie. Police and fire officials failed to tell each other when and where rescuers were needed following the Aurora theater shootings, according to reports obtained by the Denver Post. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

Learning from prize-winning journalism: how to cover a breaking news story

In Poynter’s e-book, “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism,” we highlight and examine 10 award-winning works from 2013 through interviews with their creators.

These works are inspiring. They’re also instructive. Starting with the “secrets” shared with us by their creators, we’ve extracted some great lessons about how to learn to do better journalism, and paired them with questions to ask in your own newsroom.

In this first installment, we explore lessons learned from The Denver Post’s coverage of the Aurora theater shootings, which earned the newsroom recognition for its work, winning the ASNE distinguished writing award for deadline news reporting, the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News and The Scripps Howard Award for Breaking News. The Post also received positive feedback from the community, which pleased Post’s News Director Kevin Dale even more.

In “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism,” Dale examines the factors that contributed to the Post’s multiplatform coverage of a news story that broke shortly after 1 a.m., when only one person — the night digital producer — was left in the newsroom. Read more

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Four-year-old Jake Richards watches as his sister Stephanie makes signs reading "Remember Aurora," during a remembrance event at which the names of people killed by gun violence in America over the past year were read aloud, at Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, July 19, 2013. Saturday, July 20 marks one year since the Aurora movie theater shooting rampage, which left 12 dead and 70 wounded. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A victim’s mother asks journalists not to name killer

Caren Teves wants you journalists to remember her 24-year-old son, Alex, the next time you write a story about a mass shooting. Alex was one of the 11 people who were murdered when a gunman opened fired in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., July 20, 2012.

She wants you to feel free to name her son, to use his photo if you like. But she is asking journalists not to use the name or photos of the accused shooter over and over. Teves and the organization she is a part of, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, are NOT asking for a prohibition against the photos or using the name. She told me, “If you are practicing serious journalism, if the name or the image are really important to the story, then of course you should use it. But every day, it seems, I see these images of these criminals I see or hear their names, and they are being used just for shock value or to get web clicks.”

Teves says she is constantly in touch with other families who have suffered from mass tragedies around America. Read more

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Connecticut School Shooting Photo Gallery

Should journalists stay away from Newtown this weekend?

According to The Washington Post, a long list of respected journalism organizations including ABC News, CNN, CBS News, Fox News, NBC News, NPR, The New York Times, USA Today and the Post itself say they plan to stay away from Newtown, Conn., Saturday, the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. WFSB-TV in Hartford announced a few weeks ago that it would not be in Newtown Saturday barring an unforeseen event.

It is the second strong show of restraint in a month. Barely anybody aired the 9-1-1 calls from the schools that officials released.

The reasons to stay away Saturday are the same reasons not to air the tapes. There isn’t enough news there to justify invading the townpeoples’ privacy. There are no public memorials or ceremonies scheduled for Saturday.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra told reporters, “Our request is as a community, that you not come here.” Llodra said townspeople don’t want a bunch of TV trucks and cameras clogging the streets. Read more

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NYPD sort of restores reporters’ access to police reports

The Nabe

Journalists will once again be able to access crime reports at local police precincts in New York City — as long as they make requests through a central information office first. The Nabe broke the story last week of a change in police procedure that would have required the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information to dispense reports.

The police revised the directive after CUNY Graduate Graduate School of Journalism Dean Stephen B. Shepard complained in a letter to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, The Nabe reports. Read more

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Desensationalizing stories dealing with tragedies such as the shootings at Columbine High School require careful reporting by journalists. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

5 tips on how to desensationalize stories

Every year, news agencies fight harder than before to capture the audience’s attention — and every innovation seems to make that job tougher. With the creation of cable news, the 24-hour news cycle and, more recently, a seemingly infinite number of online options, consumers can get their news just about anywhere, forcing news outlets into ever-more-questionable reporting practices.

Kathy Walton, an audio engineer for several broadcast news services, told me online recently, “I blame the wireless remote control. I’m serious. The day it became so easy to change the channel was the day television news stopped being news and began tap dancing to keep people from clicking away.”

Often, sensationalism is used to lure the audience’s attention. While some publications have made exaggeration and manipulation of the news their stock-in-trade, others stretch the truth less intentionally, not realizing their chosen angle is iffy or just plain wrong. But when it comes to breaking news, especially crime, there’s no substitute for strong storytelling based on solid facts. Read more

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NYPD stops giving journalists crime reports at precincts

The Nabe | DNAinfo New York

The New York City Police Department has decided to “restrict journalists’ access to the forms detailing crime reports in every New York City precinct,” Amanda Woods writes.

According to an 88th Precinct Community Affairs officer, this is happening because some precincts in the city allow journalists to access the forms, while others don’t. Reporters from citywide outlets have pushed the precincts that don’t offer the reports to do so. As a result, police authorities at One Police Plaza in Manhattan decided that all precincts will no longer grant journalists access to the forms.

“The NYPD’s public information office, known as DCPI, typically disemminates only select major crimes such as murders, sexual assaults and grand larcenies, but often does not include lower level neighborhood crimes,” Murray Weiss writes in DNAinfo. “DCPI is a small unit, so I don’t know how they’re going to handle it,” an unnamed source tells Weiss. Read more

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Editor: Running mugshots of black men was ‘right thing to do’

Chattanooga Times Free Press | Maynard Institute

The front page of the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Nov. 17 showed mugshots for 32 people arrested in a federal investigation of the city’s crack trade. “Of the latest round-up, all the suspects are men,” Beth Burger wrote. “All are black.”

“See their faces all in one grouping and you can’t ignore that,” Free Press Editor Alison Gerber writes in a column about the cover. “You can’t just shrug it off.” Read more

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Occupy Oakland

Journalists under attack: Pros offer safety advice

Look at this page on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ website and feel a pain in your gut. The site documents the 45 journalists who have been killed on the job worldwide this year. Most were covering human rights, politics and/or crime when they died.

If you think the only journalists who face danger on the job are those working in Syria or Egypt, you’re wrong. Last week, WDAZ reporter Adam Ladwig was attacked by three people while covering a fire. Last month, a woman attacked a WUSA9 crew. A CBS2/KCAL9 reporter and photojournalist were attacked while covering the Zimmerman verdict protests in July. In August, Poynter.org told you about the San Francisco area attacks on news crews. In a six-week period, thieves attacked journalists six times, targeting cameras, computers and tripods and taking gear at gunpoint in at least one case. In 2011, journalists across the country said they were attacked by both crowds and police while covering the “Occupy” protests. Read more

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