What is Crime Reporting in Journalism?
Crime is special and separate beat in daily newspapers. They have separate reporters to report crimes. However, crime reporting is part of the objective, interpretative and investigative reporting. Public have tremendous interest in crime stories and newspapers cannot afford to ignore them without damage to its circulation and credibility. Some newspapers had tried to keep crime out of their columns, but that proved counterproductive and they soon included the crime reporting.
Junior reporters generally cover crime, but it is a highly responsible and specialized job. The reporter should have good contacts in the police and other departments of the administration. He must have a working knowledge of the penal codes and law on libel and other relevant matters. The crime reporter has to follow a code of conduct.
He should be objective in reporting. He should avoid resorting to sensationalism to get the attention of the readers. He should not suppress news of public interest, nor should he seek to settle personal scores with police officers or lawyers or judges. He should also be careful that in the course of this work he does not unnecessarily invade a person’s privacy.
Crime reports should not glorify the activities of criminals. The crime reporter should follow standards of decency and good taste. People sometime criticize crime reporting by the press. Some reporters have also been found following unethical standards, thus causing much pain and sorrow to the victims or their families and friends.
Crime as news: There are various types of crime news including fires, accidents, robberies, burglaries, fraud, murders, blackmail, kidnapping and rape.