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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Asking the Right Questions on the Crime Beat

20080606_102003_16583 Crime happens every day. And as crime reporters, we often spend our time running from one heartwrenching crime scene to another, scanning arrest report after arrest report, churning out well-intended stories that state the news, but that too often ignore the bigger picture of what all this crime says about who we are as a society, what we value and what we are becoming.

Back-to-back sessions at the Investigative Reporters & Editors Conference in Miami on Thursday emphasized the importance of digging deeper: of asking the right questions about crime, the government agencies we pay to investigate crime, and those we expect to deal with criminals.

Here are a few tips and ideas I took away from three sessions on criminal justice reporting sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists and two more hour-long talks that dealt with the topic of databases -- how to get them and what to do with them. Through my crime-centric lens, the database-CJJ coupling was just the ointment I needed to help soothe my crime-scene-weary soul. [Mark Godsey]

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