Seeing the bigger picture on crime

September 14th, 2011 by Jack

After yesterday’s class, I just wanted to make a point on crime reporting that I felt may not have been made clear.

That is, there are still important stories to be written after the gritty details of individual crimes have been reported.  I want to defend the “feature” stories that may be written a week out, or even later.

For example, I would contend it’s impossible to put together a very good profile of a “perp” within the first 24 hours of a crime.  What makes him (or her) tick?  Why might he have committed the crime?  Answering those questions is going to require research and talking to as many people as you can after the initial chaos of a crime has subsided.

You’ll be writing a profile story soon.

As another example, there are crime “trend” stories that require the same kind of time investment to do properly.  Is a certain type of crime on the rise?  Is it a bigger problem in a specific geographic area?  Why?  You’ll need statistical evidence and expert opinion to detail and explain the trend.

This second kind of story would fall into the “enterprise” category, which is another of your assignments this semester.

So while it’s great to beat the competition on the details of a crime, that’s not the end of crime reporting.  Some of what I’ve already taught and will be teaching in upcoming lessons will be particularly useful for those profile and enterprise “feature” stories.

Comments are closed.