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Police Press Interaction

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Intended for new media and journalism students at Mercer County Community College in Prof. Holly Johnson's classes. This presentation explores successful interaction between the police and the press.

Intended for new media and journalism students at Mercer County Community College in Prof. Holly Johnson's classes. This presentation explores successful interaction between the police and the press.

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  • 1. Press and the PoliceCultivating successful interaction betweenreporters and law enforcement CMN 131 - Journalism I Prof. Holly K. Johnson ©2012
  • 2. This presentation addresses the following: Definitions of key terms What can police tell reporters and what are the required not to reveal?
  • 3. What is public information? In addition to information available through FOIA and sunshine laws, public information, from a police standpoint includes the following:  Policies  Procedures  Events involving the police  Other newsworthy information that isn’t otherwise protected by law and doesn’t interfere with people’s rights, the mission of the dept. or people’s safety and privacy
  • 4. What’s a PIO? The public information officer (PIO) is the person designated by the police dept. to convey information to the media
  • 5. Who will the police talk to? They will talk to official news media representatives, including anyone directly employed by agencies of electronic, print, radio or TV. Press ID needed! FREELANCERS are NOT considered official news media reps. Press freelancer/blogger Official press
  • 6. What can the PIO tell areporter? A PIO may release any of the following  Type or nature of an event or crime  Locations, dates, times, injuries etc.  Identity and approximate address of a victim - EXCEPT for sex crime victims or where reprisals are a concern  Requests for aid in locating evidence  Number of people involved and length of investigation  Name of officer in charge, her supervisor and her assignment (except for undercover officers).
  • 7. What will a PIO NOT tell reporters? There are many things a PIO cannot discuss with reporters. They fall into several basic categories: 1. Any info that would compromise an investigation in progress or a court proceeding 2. Any info which could jeopardize anyone’s safety 3. Anything to do with juveniles 4. Identity of someone critically injured or deceased before their next of kin has been notified 5. Copies of or info about collected evidence - fingerprints, polygraphs, ballistic tests etc.
  • 8. In the event of an arrest a PIO can tell reporters: The name, age, race and other basic identifying information of the accused Time/place of arrest and any key info about the arrest itself Who made the arrest Bail or bond amt. Court dates. Place of detention.
  • 9. In the event of an arrest aPIO cannot tell reporters: Info about priors Any confession info Test results Testimony expected of witnesses OPINIONS about guilt or innocence
  • 10. Case #1 – Death on Rt. 1
  • 11. ReviewKey Points: It is important to wait until you talk to the PIO and have a complete story. It is unethical to talk to cops who are on the fringe of the action or who are not done with their job. It is unethical to report rumors.
  • 12. Further Conclusions Original impressions from witnesses are often inaccurate Testimony from children is often unreliable
  • 13. Case #2 – Crazy Bank Robber
  • 14. Basic Facts:• Voute had already served 11years for •reckless endangerment • weapons charges • armed robbery • shooting at police •Voute had charges in KY and NJ Voute was accused of carjacking a crossing guard and pushing a 71- year-old lady to the ground. Robbed at least 7 banks.
  • 15. What ever happened to Voute?
  • 16. ReviewKey Point: It pays for reporters to follow up.
  • 17. Further Conclusions A one paragraph story becomes a complete story with follow up The reporter can track down many additional charges and cases to complete their reporting Future reporters can rely on earlier articles by “going to the morgue”
  • 18. Case #3 – Baseball Cap Bandit
  • 19. McLendon hadserved time for gangrape, armed robberyand resisting arrest.As soon asMcLendon was takenin by West WindsorPD, after resistingarrest and harmingan officer, he wasfreed with“supervised release”by feds.McLendon hadrobbed at least 10banks in Florida andNJ since his originalrelease from prison.
  • 20. ReviewKey Points: Sometimes the police reach out to the press for assistance Because reporters have different limitations, they may have unusual/ special sources they can reach out to for additional info that the police cannot get.
  • 21. Further Conclusions Police and reporters collaborate when a story does not add up. Law enforcement officials do not always collaborate effectively.
  • 22. END