Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A few words of guidance

for our allegedly journalistic brethren.

What say we put the focus of reporting on violent crime back where it belongs, with the people rather than with the implements du jour?

There are no "gun-men" or "knife-wielders" - there are thieves, burglars, kidnappers, assailants, killers, murderers, and rapists and the "alleged" versions thereof, wherein a potentially bad person has been apprehended, but not yet proven before a court of law.

On the flip side, there are citizens, victims, and the recently deceased. And "fended off a violent attack by assailants unknown" is not a bad way to describe a wide variety of badness.

From my reading and occasional interaction with less savory sorts as I meander through life, I observe that frequently while numerous, the less savory sorts aren't any too bright - what say you refrain from providing them encouragement in their stupidity via your breathless panting over miscreants ill-doings?

Tell the story, but objectively and without glorifying the role of the criminal or indulguing in low grade theatrics. I didn't pick up a newspaper or turn on a news report for your extra special dramatic reading, whether its' of the latest natural disaster or the most recent misdeeds of the ne'er-do-well. I'm here for the facts that affect my life, a quick laugh as appropriate, and a little bit of clearly labeled human interest - you are the bucket carrier, not the vital sustenance.

While I'm at it, I can develop my own political views, thank you ever so much - I don't need you to spoon-feed me yours, carefully stirred in amongst what in these sad later days passes for news underneath a treacle-layered coating of crud made from equal measures of "it's for the children", psycho-babble, and "safety-nuttery".

That fictional hero, Joe Friday, said it best when he said "Just the facts, ma'am" - as journalists, try it, you'd be amazed at how your readership might improve.

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