Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I Make a Crime Wave

"I enjoy crime waves. I made one once; Jake Riis helped; many reporters joined in the uplift of the rising tide of crime; and T.R. stopped it. "

When crime strikes the city the police aren't the only ones that arrive on scene to cover the case. Fallowing directly behind the boys in blue is an army of hungry young reporters eager to the their first big scoop. If it weren't for the press, the majority of the city would never know of the crime the erupts through their city. When a crime wave sweeps through a city the press is out to cover every incident.
Lincoln Steffens explains in "I Make a Crime Wave: Beating the competition and the politics of crime reporting", how the press is responsible for much of the hype during a crime wave, more so then the rise in crime itself. Journalism is a competitive business where you have to beat your completion to the punch. This sense of urgency creates a flood of crime stories in the papers. Then a mass hysteria blows through the streets and now you have a full blown crime wave. The media can build a crime wave but just its competitive nature.


At 8:53 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

Steffens helps us to understand that our conception of the city is in part a construction of journalists who can turn unconnected events into a "wave" with enormous political consequences. A crime may be rising or falling but the press can create an impression of chaos or order based on the politics of the press and the demands for circulation.


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