Monday, August 7, 2023
Thunderstorms. High 76 degrees.
Our calendar has lots of local events! Click on the link or the lady in the upper righthand corner to check.
By Carol Tannenhauser
“I was reading the Rag the other day while I was getting my nails done,” a friend said on the phone last Friday. “I was wondering, do you have to report on all those crimes? I know they happen, but they’re not representative of the neighborhood. They give the wrong impression.”
Granted, it had been a particularly bad stretch toward the end of July. We’d reported on three sexual assaults in Riverside Park in one week; two women sucker punched in the face in three days; three women robbed by two bandits on a single scooter (one of them was also punched in the face); and a dead man in the river. Three of the alleged assailants were quickly arrested, and we covered that as well.
“We do have to report them,” I answered my friend. “We’re a news site. Crime is news — and it’s a public safety issue. It sends a message to our readers to be careful.”
Even as I said it, I knew that no matter how careful someone is, a sucker punch — by definition, “unprovoked and unexpected” — cannot be easily avoided. In Australia, it’s called a “coward punch” (which is interesting because, that way, it places the onus on the puncher.) I didn’t want to think about the sexual assaults.
“Plus,” I added. “The police ask the press to post the details and surveillance photos to help them find the suspects.” For a time, the Rag becomes a wanted poster.
That’s part of the problem: our site does not have a front page with multiple and varied offerings. It is linear; the story on the top of the thread is solo and center stage. “It’s out of balance,” my friend said. “There are so many other things happening in the neighborhood.”
“We report on them, too,” I reminded her, but I considered her comments. Perhaps a format tweak is in order. For now, we cast our net far and wide for fun, informative, and interesting stories to counteract the bad stuff. Our human, animal, and small-business profiles; openings and closings; meeting coverage; museum-exhibition and book reviews; political, social, and special reports on current events are chosen by design.
Crime isn’t a choice; it just shows up.
“I hate it,” I admitted to my friend, “but we do have to report it.”
Here’s to a peaceful week.
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