Monday, 11 February 2008

The challenges of crime reporting

The South African Institute for Security Studies has highlighted the challenge of crime reporting in the country, highlighting distortions and omissions in the media's approach to dealing with this crucial issue. Much of their criticism pertains to things media can also be criticised for more generally, partly because journalism operates according to certain key 'news values' (probably the simplest way of defining a news is the old adage that when a dog bites a man its not news, but when a man bites a dog, well you've at least got a funny feature for the bottom of your front page). Some of the symptoms mentioned are: an event-driven journalism that neglects context or covers dramatic incidents but does not follow through with a long-term view; reporting focuses on crimes involving prominent or famous people; reporting is based on hearsay; statistics are misinterpreted. Read the ISS report here. pic:

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