In many communities, news reporting on crime amplifies inaccurate narratives and harms the communities that are most affected by crime.
Yet many newsrooms that want to change struggle to reform their work. Why? Covering specific instances of crime requires relatively few resources and often drives traffic, whereas providing more in-depth, contextual reporting takes more time and expertise.
Over the course of this ongoing seminar, we’ll introduce a series of change management tools that will guide newsrooms as they transform their coverage, step by step. Every newsroom’s solution will be unique to the communities they serve.
We’ll start by identifying the journalistic purpose behind your stories about cops, courts and public safety. We’ll teach you how to do an analysis of your own content, to determine how much coverage you are currently producing and what percentage of that coverage serves your audience. After that, we focus on change management, building and implementing new policies, and strengthening your capacity to provide in-depth reporting.
Each team will join two to three other newsrooms facing similar challenges to form a small group cohort. You’ll meet with your cohort and your assigned coach every other week to exchange ideas as you tackle the next steps of organizational change.
Your team should consist of three to six people, including a frontline reporter or producer currently responsible for telling stories about law enforcement and crime, and an editor or manager with the authority to implement editorial policies.
After participating in this training, newsrooms will:
- Understand what information helps citizens manage their personal safety.
- Be able to report accurately on crime trends, including crime resolution rates.
- Recognize why law enforcement points journalists to certain types of crime.
- Identify how news coverage shapes public opinion, which in turn shapes public policies.
- Describe trends by demographics and zip codes evenly and equitably so that people truly understand their absolute and relative risks in different areas.
- Report more deeply on the underlying causes that contribute to crime, including economic issues, education, access to health care, affordable housing policies, and addiction and mental health treatment.
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