Journalism Pakistan
Newsroom Pakistan: Suno TV censors PTI leader Zartaj Gul's scarf featuring Imran KhanNewsroom Pakistan: Influencer Junaid Akram apologizes for paid promotion of Punjab GovernmentWorld: Libyan TV host Ahmed al-Sanussi arrested after reporting corruptionNewsroom Pakistan: Dictatorship and Drawing: Akhtar Shah's satirical journey through martial lawsNewsroom Pakistan: Absa Komal condemns sexist remarks during talk show appearanceWorld: Over 60 media and civil society organizations call for open access to GazaCensorship and career: Working as a journalist in the UAEAsia: Journalists face charges in India for reporting alleged police misconduct and mob lynchingNewsroom Pakistan: Paid Praise: How government endorsements by influencers violated ethical standardsAsia: Censorship in India: Media's battle for freedom under Prime Minister ModiNewsroom Pakistan: Anchor Ayesha Jahanzaib alleges abuse by husband, FIR filedWorld: Unveiling the future: How AI is reshaping global news reporting

Sins of the crime reporter

 JournalismPakistan.com |  Published November 21, 2014 |  Stephen Manuel

Join our WhatsApp channel

Sins of the crime reporter

All you have to do is pick up the newspaper and read through the city/local pages to realize that in the past so many decades nothing has changed when it comes to reporting crime. It’s simply unimaginable why this genre of reporting has not evolved given that it is one of the first goals young reporters set their sights on as soon as they enter the profession.

Most crime reports in Pakistani newspapers are not only vague in the extreme but often one-sided. One has to be a saint to not feel irritated by the generous sprinkling of various ‘alleged’, ‘reported’ ‘accused’ and ‘reliable sources said’ that litter any five centimeter single column report.

At the same time it would be very unfair to blame only the reporter for the finished product because he in all probability, is rigorously following the parameters laid down by his mentor.

In my opinion the chief reporter, the sub-editor and the city/local editor are equally to blame for dismal product they persist in insisting is a crime report. They all go through the initial story and whether it is indifference or lack of capability, they hardly if ever improve on the story; for them it's just part of the daily grist.

It is a shame, really.

Nothing can ignite the interest of the reader like a good crime report. The human interest angle is hard to ignore. We love to know about the how and why of crime and the individual or individuals who perpetrate it. It is human nature.

Just think of the huge public interest in the mid eighties when the so-called “Hathora Group” was running rampant or the time that Javed Iqbal, the self-confessed killer of over 100 children from Lahore, was arrested after a massive man hunt.

The public thirst for authentic investigative details was never fulfilled by Pakistan’s print media. There were no statements derived from official police reports, no real interviews with relevant police officers and criminologists, no independent verification of the statements provided by the police.

No real reports were commissioned or planned. Editors and senior reporters were quite content to sit back and rely on the pathetic details provided in the badly written copy given to them by their so-called crime reporters.

No real follow-ups.

Nothing much has changed since.

Just the other day I read this report about a young man murdered in Karachi and wondered how many others of the ilk I had read in my time as a journalist and regular reader of newspapers. It went something like this:

One M.K, a resident of Korangi, was allegedly assassinated by an unknown killer. He was found to have three bullet wounds. Reliable sources said he was allegedly a drug user.”

That’s it.

Could not have some reporter bothered to have gone down to the relevant police station and found out further details. Surely the man, once identified, also had a residential address. Details of who he was and what kind of person he was could have been had from the locality he lived in. It might even have evolved into a real whodunit.

But sadly I know what happened.

The reporter, while chatting to a fellow reporter, got the details on the phone in exchange for something equally vague. He just jotted it down, produced his four-line story, without bothering to do some real work. I’ve seen it done many times.

The only instance certain crime reporters come into action is when they need a favor from the police and brazenly blackmail them with details of corruption and irregularities gotten through nefarious means. Seen this too!

Furthermore, when was the last time you read a story based on an ongoing criminal court hearing?

The court is one place crime reporters have totally forgotten.

Shame again.

And while there are so many areas specialist reporters in our media can improve and be more professional, actual crime reporting would be a good place to start.

 

Censorship and career: Working as a journalist in the UAECensorship and career: Working as a journalist in the UAE

 July 11, 2024:  Explore the challenges and opportunities expat journalists face in the UAE, with insights from Imran Naeem Ahmad, a former Gulf Ne...

The invisible hand: How censorship shapes Pakistani journalism todayThe invisible hand: How censorship shapes Pakistani journalism today

 July 09, 2024:  Explore the profound impact of censorship on Pakistani journalism. Delve into the challenges faced by journalists, the erosion of ...

Why local journalism matters more than ever in a globalized worldWhy local journalism matters more than ever in a globalized world

 July 08, 2024:  Discover the critical role of local news in a globalized world and how grassroots journalism empowers communities, ensures informe...

How Asian print media is fighting back against digital dominanceHow Asian print media is fighting back against digital dominance

 July 06, 2024:  Explore the challenges facing print media in Asia, from digital competition to financial struggles, and discover how newspapers an...

The surge of independent media in Asia: A new dawn for journalismThe surge of independent media in Asia: A new dawn for journalism

 July 03, 2024:  Discover how independent media outlets in Asia are transforming journalism by breaking barriers and shaping public opinion. Learn ...

Examining the perilous future of Pakistan's print mediaExamining the perilous future of Pakistan's print media

 June 28, 2024:  Dive into an extensive exploration of the ominous challenges besieging Pakistan's print media sector. Delve into the heart of the ...

Vanishing voices: The fall of investigative journalism in PakistanVanishing voices: The fall of investigative journalism in Pakistan

 June 23, 2024:  Explore the decline of investigative journalism in Pakistan and understand the economic, political, and safety challenges that jou...

Unveiling the truth: Why Pakistani TV channels are losing credibilityUnveiling the truth: Why Pakistani TV channels are losing credibility

 June 17, 2024:  Discover the key factors behind the declining credibility of Pakistani TV channels, from sensationalism and political bias to the ...

Newsroom
Suno TV censors PTI leader Zartaj Gul's scarf featuring Imran Khan

Suno TV censors PTI leader Zartaj Gul's scarf featuring Imran Khan

 July 13, 2024 In a blatant display of media censorship, Suno TV blurred images of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on a scarf worn by PTI leader Zartaj Gul during a talk show. This incident adds to the growing list of censorship cases in Pakistani media, raising concerns about freedom of expression and media integrity.

Influencer Junaid Akram apologizes for paid promotion of Punjab Government

Influencer Junaid Akram apologizes for paid promotion of Punjab Government

 July 13, 2024 Junaid Akram, a popular vlogger with 1.15 million subscribers on YouTube, has publicly apologized for a video where he praised the 100-day performance of the Punjab government admitting it was paid content. This admission comes amidst growing controversy over influencers accepting payments for promotional videos.

Libyan TV host Ahmed al-Sanussi arrested after reporting corruption

Libyan TV host Ahmed al-Sanussi arrested after reporting corruption

 July 12, 2024 The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of Libyan TV host Ahmed al-Sanussi, who was arrested in Tripoli. CPJ condemns the lack of information on his detention and demands his safe return. Al-Sanussi is known for reporting on local politics and government corruption.

Dictatorship and Drawing: Akhtar Shah's satirical journey through martial laws

Dictatorship and Drawing: Akhtar Shah's satirical journey through martial laws

 July 12, 2024 Explore the journey of Akhtar Shah, a renowned satirical cartoonist in Pakistan, as he shares his early inspirations, creative process, challenges, and future projects in an interview with JournalismPakistan.com.

Absa Komal condemns sexist remarks during talk show appearance

Absa Komal condemns sexist remarks during talk show appearance

 July 12, 2024 Dawn News TV anchor Absa Komal has spoken out against the persistent sexism she faces in the media industry. Highlighting an incident during a talk show where a male panelist made a sexist remark, Komal expressed her frustration and called for greater gender equality and awareness.