Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Enquirer is killing me

The Enquirer's story on Monday about Cincinnati's murder rate ("Record causes city to react") can't even be called journalism. It's an old formula for lazy newspapers: Three interviews makes a story. Reporter Quann Truongg talked to the coroner, a community activist and a police captain, and the result doesn't make any sense. What reaction? What's the cause of the rise in murders? There's no discussion of other violent crimes, or the murder rates of anyplace in the area outside of the city of Cincinnati. There's not even any broader discussion of the city's drug problem, which is the only reason discussed in the story for the rise in murders.

And the inclusion of this line -- "Owens and others say the chance of random people ending up as homicide statistics is slight" -- seems aimed at white suburbanites, to assure them that all these folks are just killing each other and it's plenty safe to come downtown. Don't forget Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan is a board member of 3CDC.

The centerpiece of this story is a very long list, with details of each murder committed during 2006. Listing facts isn't journalism. Any high school teenager can list facts.

If you look at this chart, does something pop out at you? Like, the rise in murders from 2000 to 2001, from 40 to 63? What happened around that time that might have something to do with the rise in murders? The story never mentions the deaths of Roger Owensby or Timothy Thomas, nothing about the riots, nothing about Police Chief Tom Streicher or Officer Stephen Roach. It's just dumb to think these are not events on the same continuum. The Enquirer is obviously tired of talking about that period. Either that, or they're hiring reporters who weren't even born then, who consider the riots ancient history. What the Enquirer did here isn't journalism. It's just filling space.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's why the murder rate has increased: After the 2001 riots and the subsequent federal lawsuit and scrutiny of the Cincinnati Police Department, hostility arose between the cops and certain segments of the community. Drug gangs, primarily from Detroit, saw Cincinnati as an "open city" with diminished police presence. They expanded their business interests in Cincinnati and brought the requisite violence with them. Over-the-Rhine has become a drug bazaar, and drug-related crime and violence has increased in many sections of the city. Perhaps they should send in the Marines. (Oh, that's right, they're busy policing Baghdad!)

3:35 PM  

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