A Learning Experience for the Reader, the Possible Victim

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It was interesting to read these crime reporting tips because it mentioned that one of the reasons readers like to read about crime is because they can know why a law was broken, or how, and how this crime can be prevented. This interested me because it shows that not all readers read crime stories for entertainment, but to keep a hold of their own safety, and to be knowledgable about certain laws that have been covered in crime stories. All news is a learning experience to some extent, but I think that difference with crime stories is that readers are learning for their own benefit; it could affect them personally. For example, if one is reading about a murder in their small town, then they learn that their town isn't so safe as it's said to be, and will cause them to be more cautious and alert. Readers aren't just learning about what's going on, but learning how to prevent certain crimes and how they happen, ultimately connecting to them personally.

I liked how this reading emphasized the importance of the victims. Sometimes, I feel like the victims aren't given as much "attention" (I know that's not the best word) as the actual law breakers are. That angers me because the thiefs, murderers, rapists, etc. shouldn't be given any more attention than just simply letting the readers know who this person is and what they did. It bothers me when reporters go into a long story about law breakers sometimes. The victim's experience and thoughts should be involved more since readers can, most of the time, relate better with the victims. I do understand, though, that it is important for those who committed the crimes to be featured since that is how the crime story even came about.  



Derek Tickle said:

Crime scene articles do keep society up-to-date on what type of laws and charges there are. If the normal person did not read about these types of things in the paper, then most people would not even know what a person gets for a particular crime (e.g. theft).

In some cases, victims, like in the Jeanette story, are not given there say in the action. Usually, the victim is left out of the article because the reporter does not want to mention the person because they already have enough of pain/worry to deal with.

April Minerd said:

It would be easier to relate with the victims, but it’s a possibility they’d rather remain out of print. In a sense, publicly displaying the unlawful is a form of chastisement—akin to placing criminals in medieval stocks and pillories. They’re left at the mercy of the public. Of course, some criminals enjoy the spotlight, but I bet most are humiliated by having their dirty laundry aired out for all to see.

Richelle Dodaro said:

Yeah, I understand what you're both saying about the victims. They have to deal with other emotional suffering, etc. so they probably would rather stay out of the "spotlight" most of the time. It could possibly even be embarrassing for the victim(s) too.

Greta Carroll said:

I agree with everything that has been said about leaving the victim’s voice out as a means of protecting them. But, I would also like to point out that these “thieves, murderers, rapists, etc” are all ACCUSED “thieves, murderers, rapists, etc.” Until there is sentence, we don’t know that these people actually did anything. And even if they are convicted, there is always a slight chance they are innocent. By quoting the accused, they are given a chance to tell their side of the story or explain extenuating circumstances (such as a murder being done as an act of self-defense). I agree that there should be focus on the victim, so that the readers can relate and are drawn in emotionally. But to write an unbiased news article, the victim(s), accused, and police should all be considered.

Jennifer Prex said:

I actually wrote something similar to your second point. I agree that the entire focus shouldn't be on the suspect. We've read and we've been told that news articles are supposed to be unbiased and cover all angles--as much as possible in a given situation, anyways. It seems that one way to make sure this is the case is to cover the suspect end of things as well as the victim and police end of things--time permitting.

Richelle Dodaro said:

I understand what you're saying, Greta. I agree that the accused should have a fair chance to explain themselves, but I just feel like the victims are left out sometimes. I thought about it some more though and realized that the victims probably don't want to be too much involved, sometimes. Another thing that you made me think about is that the accused are exposed more so than the victims, and sometimes I think this focus falls too close in on what they supposedly did, rather than letting them share their story. Because, yes, even if they are convicted, they could still be innocent. I just think about my experience with reading or watching about crime on the news and it seems like the whole focus of the accused is on what they supposedly did, rather than hearing what they have to say about it.

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