In many communities, coverage of crime amplifies existing inequity and harms underrepresented communities. Rather than focusing on sensational crime and disadvantaged communities, local newsrooms could invest existing resources in documenting trends and holding law enforcement accountable.
This new online group seminar from the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter will help local newsrooms fix crime reporting by embracing the best practices of public safety journalism.
Two people from each newsroom should participate: a frontline reporter or producer responsible for police and crime news and an editor or manager who can influence editorial policies. Together, they will analyze the newsroom’s existing habits around crime coverage. They will reconsider the purpose of their crime coverage and identify stories that accomplish that purpose. Working in two-week sprints, participants will build consensus in their newsroom for a new approach to crime coverage and propose improvements to practices and policies.
After participating in this training, participating newsrooms will:
- Understand what information helps citizens manage their personal safety
- Report on crime trends, including crime resolution rates
- Recognize why law enforcement points journalists to certain types of crime
- Identify public policies that are harmful or inadequate
- Inform the public of how they can influence those policies and practices
- Report on trends by demographics, zip codes evenly and equitably so that people truly understand their absolute and relative risks in different areas
- Draw deeper connections between crime and mental health, economics, education, housing policies, addiction
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