Covering Crime and Its Victims

Covering Crime and Justice, Ch 5: Covering Crime and Its Victims (note the link goes to just one page in this chapter -- please read all pages in this chapter, through to Covering Rape and Sexual Assault Victims.)  Also, refer to Crime Beat Basics and this little sidebar on the Perp Walk.

Covering crime and its victims requires perspective, persistence and patience. It's a beat where rookie reporters are often assigned, but it is one of the most challenging in any newsroom. Many victims never have had contact with the media. They feel overwhelmed, distrustful and scared. Imagine that after a horrible crime, a pack of reporters, with cameras and tape recorders rolling, surround you and yell out questions.


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» A Purpose from DaniellaChoynowski

"Reporting on crime is important to give society an overall view of the criminal justice system."-Lisa R Manns, "Covering Crime and Its Victims"Most people do no have a clear understanding of how the justice system works. They may not have... Read More

» How Not to be "That" Reporter from Special K

"It can be difficult to interview grieving individuals or those who have been victimized. Reporters often open fresh wounds by simply being present. It can be nerve-racking and traumatizing for both involved parties" ('What Do You Ask?') To me, crime... Read More

» Harsh Realities of Crime Reporting from JacquelynJohns

Although I thought the majority of this chapter on covering crime was informative and useful, I thought some of the advice featured in the "At the Scene" section was a little devoid of basic, human decency and consideration for... Read More

» Crime always Pays from JeremyBarrick

Does crime necessarily pay for itself? I do believe that it does. A story is easier to get out if it is attached to an accident or a violent crime. This makes the audience want more. A story about a... Read More

» What used to be serious just got "Fair" from Throw me a Floatie!

"No moment is too private, no event too personal," Kelly McBride, a member of ethics faculty at The Poynter Institute says. I have always felt it would be wrong to release a rape victim’s name, but in today’s world it... Read More

» When to press as Press? from MadelynGillespie

These readings laid out in detail exactly why reporters sometimes act the way that they do in the movies. Constantly running after victims, shoving cameras in faces, or shouting questions in faces that often only upset the victim even further.... Read More

» Some unnerving trends? from MitchellSteele

There were two lists: List 1: * Is this graphic detail necessary to tell the story? * Will this detail help the community at large? * Will readers or viewers be offended by such details? * Will the victim suffer... Read More


Jeremy Barrick said:

It seems that a crime reporter would be interesting. There is alot to learn even to cover the basics. I guess that anyone of us who shows interest in getting a job in the field of journalism will have to start at level entry.This is one of the jobs they start you out at?
If a victim or family member is capable of talking at the scene, approach cautiously. Try to avoid the wolfpack mentality that many of us have adopted. We'll get our information, quotes and sound bites if we exhibit a little patience. "We can go out and get our stories and the exclusives and still be human," says Lori Dickerson, a Michigan State University journalism instructor
I for one had always thought that it was a cut throat buisness, and that you had to push and shove to get a story. A stigma put on reporters. On the television, you always see a group of reporters shoving mics in faces and running after victims and their families.

Michelle Polly said:

This really tells you why reporters are the way they are and what helps them to be good reporters and so on. They are almost like poperatzzi.(dont know how to spell that), It can get annoying at times but that is what makes them a good reporter.

Maria Pezzuti said:

Heres a link to my blog...

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