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October 21, 2005

Lab on Crime Reporting

Journalism, in my opinion, is an admirable profession. Americans tend to take their news for granted. It’s there every morning neatly folded, lying in our drive ways or perhaps just a click away. We tend to complain about journalists─those nosey reporters always invading someone’s privacy, but this class has given me a heightened respect for them.

The lab exercise today demonstrated how crucial it is to get the facts straight and present them, not chronologically, but in order of importance. Sometimes those facts may be a jumbled array of details, quotes, and background information. But somehow the journalist must sift through them; discard erroneous and peripheral details, and prioritize them─always remembering in the process to attribute accusations and opinions. It’s a daunting task; one that as Dave Krajicek pointed out in The Crime Beat is synonymous with breaking news. It also requires, as he pointed out, “fortitude and resilience.”

Posted by NancyGregg at October 21, 2005 4:21 PM


I've found getting the important facts into my articles is one of the toughest factors. Usually I have so much information that I want to include, but I have to prioritize and only put the quotes and facts that mean the most. How do you decide what goes into your work?

Posted by: Katie Lambert at October 22, 2005 6:43 PM

I agree with you, it's tough to go through pages of quotes and facts and come up with a coherent article. I think you're method of chosing the most important quotes and facts, especially for crime stories, is right on. For other types of stories, I try to tell a story within the boundaries of the facts. In my Morgan Spurlock article, for instance, I chose a statement he made towards the end, "You can make a difference" not for my lead but for amplification. Do you think you would like covering crime stories?

Posted by: NancyGregg at October 23, 2005 2:28 PM