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Lecture

Crime Reporting an Dominick Dunne

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Department
English
Course
ENG 285
Professor
Chad Gibbs
Semester
Fall

Description
what makes it newsworthy+crime=solid story usually one reporter assigned to “police beat” crime reporters burn out and become jaded good to have a dedicated one to build relationships and establish good writing dispatchers have imitations if it’s a new crime or controversial they may be hesitant to tell can get info via: beat checks/calls police scanners/radios -> more news desk than crime reporter police records/logs (must go to police to get, often printed verbatim) police pressroom police may call if you if you’ve done nice police stories and built a relationship with some one try not to be frustrated with long-term stories don’t write fluff pieces either be careful of eyewitness testimony in terms of crime itself possible libel may not be accurate ok for tragedy of event are you willing to call the victim’s mother for a statement learn to be diplomatic and sympathetic be current (if you’re too far behind you come across as trying to damage person) don’t pull 2+ cases into one story unless inked in court don’t bring in religion, race or profession unless absolutely necessary Crime:  identification (victim, complainant, perp) o name, address, age, claim to fame: make sure it’s right so you don’t commit libel/talk about wrong person o can get from police  when and where: be precise  description: be detailed but sensitive o community values o family and friends may be reading o e.g. “man sexually assaulted”, not “homosexual sodomised with tire iron” o don’t release name of minors, they are protected  in States can if they’re being tried as an adult o may be gag order on reporting on victims of sexual assault, probably doesn’t applied outside country, so if you want to know look to other newspapers o can get from police  witness o who discovered it? o will they get involved?  responses from suspect o will they make a statement/make a statement?  will their attorney let them?  consequences/penalty o first, second, third offence–>if you have criminal history what do you say  related go ahead, escalation go ahead  DO NOT ASSOCIATE CRIMES! o is it a capital offense (States)?  most people are released early for whatever reason o can get from police Terminology:  felony is serious, misdemeanour not  charges=read before judge, indictment=formal accusation  robbery=violence, burglary=not  manslaughter=accidental/not premeditated, murder=intentional  parole=have been in prison, probation=not in prison  suspect=mug shot, criminal=found guilty Hospitals:  ask nursing supervisor if dead or alive, critical or stable, guarded?, in ICU Fires:  get to know fire chief  if you hear fire codes call and ask to make sure it isn’t mattress or dumpster Dominick Dunne on OJ Simpson: bias get’s him access name dropper (I know x and this is my relationship) tries to put self in spotlight too much even puts self in indirectly (referencing Another City, Not My Own in Justice) commentator not a reporter when on NBC biased against defendant fights for victims’ rights and tries to portray as underdog starts reporting on press duri
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