At the conclusion of the podcast on the Death Race 2016 feature Chuck asks me what I would have media do differently. In my convoluted response I arrived at the idea of balance. Balance in the way of explaining that the dangers of urban violence tend to not be distributed randomly, but rather accrue to people based on relationships and behavior, and balance in addressing other dangers apart from urban crime; like automobile crashes.
A long form piece on the horrors of being a Springfield homicide detective. A new homicide from 2017 or a case from 2016; which is it, I wondered? A sad case of a young woman whose body was found in a dumpster not a block from my house last year. Horrible. Wait. I just told Chuck on the podcast that the only female homicide victim of 2016 was the 16 year old shot by her boyfriend. Were there 14 homicides in 2016? Did I miss one? Oh, wait, no. This is a story about someone who died from a heroin overdose, not likely to be ruled a homicide unless the autopsy report brings to light some new information in a case about a woman known to have been an addict at a time when overdose rates are skyrocketing.
Why not do an in depth story, if you’re doing a story on homicide detectives, on a known homicide? Perhaps the victims aren’t sympathetic enough. Springfield’s murder numbers dropped precipitously last year and it is yet to have its first murder of 2017, by comparison Hartford, a city with tens of thousands fewer people, just had its 6th murder of the new year; maybe your focus should be elsewhere right now. While the data is showing crime is at its lowest point in decades, automobile death rates are climbing again. Perhaps the recent tragedies involving 4 high school kids might spark some interest in a feature on the trauma of being a first responder to car crashes?
I don’t know, just a thought.