The Art of the Crime Report

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While maybe not related directly to the project, I thought that I might know of two of the alleged assailants in these two articles.  The person in the "Would-be robbery victim fights back" article matches the description of a mallrat I would see over the summer.  I don't know who he is, but I would always see him sneaking into the movie theater, and he tried to ask my friends to buy him beer a few times.  He always wore a bandana, and the crime scene from incident is literally a stones throw from where I would see him.  From the picture given in the story, the 20 year-old male suspect in the enslavement case looks like a person who went to my high school.  He would regularly wear women's "hip-hugger" jeans, use clown make-up to paint a beard on his face, and he would growl at anyone who would walk past him.

But I was very impressed with the "Would-be robbery victim fights back" article.  I find that there is a subtle art to writing crime reports.  While they may seem mundane or uninspired at times, it takes a talented writer to balance all of the criteria needed for a proper news article with the limited amount of information given.  This article satisfied all of the requirements, along with being entertaining.  The author of the article applied the inverted pyramid style, the 5 W's (and one H), presented the story in an unbiased fashion, and kept it at a short 8 paragraphs in length.  The tone was still professional, but the author still managed to present the story in a way that you could visualize the incident occurring.  Many times with crime/accident reports, the article contains little more than a short description of the incident ("An unidentified man was shot") with the result ("He is in stable condition").  I felt that the other story was hard to follow, but there was a lot of information that didn't really make all that much sense to begin with, and the author had to include much of what was covered from before.  I guess this would be an example of when it would be beneficial to a talented news writer to have less information to write an article with.


Dianna Griffin said:

I think I may have seen this guy you're talking about a few times as well ;). It's funny how every description that is given about a suspect always sounds like someone that you know. I feel like even though the newspaper is trying to help by giving a description of the "suspect," it is actually causing more of a problem. I don't want to walk around the mall and be scared by every person that has dark eyes and hair and wears a bandana. There are so many people that fit that description that I just can't afford to waste my time by trying to avoid them all the time.

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