Howl: A One-sided Web Post, Heavy on Cop Info.

This web post on philly.com is about the three suspects who allegedly killed a recent Temple University graduate (pictured at right) in Old City.

This piece of news is written from a very governmental point of view. Police are the only source of information. In the first paragraph, the news includes the five Ws. Like most of the crime stories, the first paragraph  starts with the name and identity of the victim, when and where does the event happened.

In the following paragraphs, the reporter starts to describe the development of the event. Instead of solely relying on the information provided by police, the reporter should have reached out to the community and got some valuable information that is perhaps more newsworthy.

By only describing how the event happened, the whole piece of news becomes dull and plain. The reporter also describes where do all three suspects come from and when they were brought to be questioned by the police. This part not only makes the whole story become boring but also shows how the whole piece of news is adapted from a police department statement.

This story shows that crime beat reporters still rely too much on police as their primary source of information. There is a trend that crime stories possess too little alternative information and police departments often have too much influence on the content of the story.

– Text by Hao Wei Yang. Image from philly.com.

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