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Covering The Cop Shop
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Covering The Cop Shop

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Andrew Chavez discusses how to cover crime and justice.

Andrew Chavez discusses how to cover crime and justice.

Published in: Education, News & Politics

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Transcript

  • 1. Covering the cop shop
    Andrew Chavez, Texas Center for Community Journalism
  • 2. Reporting
    Getting the info you need
  • 3. The tools
    • Required by federal law on federally-funded roads (interstates, state and county roads)
    • 4. Available from NNA for $15
    • 5. Handheld is ideal
    • 6. Find the frequencies online
    • 7. Check the iPhone/Web apps
    • 8. Best in wallet-size card
    • 9. Ask a friendly cop
    • 10. Check online
    • 11. Big pad is great for sketching
    • 12. Small one best for back pocket
  • Build relationships
    Have a presence
    Cultivate sources before you need them
    Throw them some fluff
    Keep a dialogue open
    Don’t let bad habits persist
    Develop a phonefile
  • 13. Set multiple traps
    Scanner
    Reports
    Check-in calls
    Use your whole staff
    End-of-the-year statistics (audit yourself)
    Don’t forget fire and EMS (they’re at the big stuff, too)
  • 14. Writing the crime story
    It’s easier than you think
  • 15. Be precise
    Focus on the 5Ws
    Establish a timeline
    Don’t “write around it” – admit what you don’t know
    Ditch the jargon
  • 16. CYA
    Attribute, attribute, attribute
    Get the documents, recordings, videos …
    Verify accounts (try a timeline or sketch)
    Be a detective and a defense attorney
    Save contact info for your sources
    Consult the AP Stylebook
  • 17. Get out
    Reach out to the accused
    Talk to the families
    Visit the crime scene
    Find witnesses
    … You owe it to them
  • 18. Follow through
    It doesn’t end at the arrest
    Be consistent about your treatments – headlines, page position, etc.
    Keep case files
  • 19. Follow through
  • 20. Policies and Ethics
    Making the touch decisions
  • 21. To name or not to name?
    Your thoughts …
  • 22. To name or not to name?
    Consider the rumor mill
    Think about what you would want
    Be consistent (write it down)
    Be prepared to defend yourself
    Print the necessary info
    Address
    Age
    Mugshot
  • 23. Printing descriptions
    Your thoughts …
  • 24. Printing descriptions
    Think about the descriptors
    Could you pick this person out?
    When is race relevant?
    Does clothing count?
  • 25. Some resources
  • 26. Some resources
    Dart Center for Journalism & Traumahttp://dartcenter.org/
    Covering Crime and Justice: A guide for journalistshttp://www.justicejournalism.org/crimeguide/
    Freedom of Information Foundation of Texashttp://foift.org/
  • 27. Q&A Time