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What Poynter learned by helping 44 newsrooms reform their crime coverage
Poynter's course, Transforming Crime Coverage Into Public Safety Journalism, is aimed at helping newsrooms change the way they cover police and public safety. Applications for the online seminar are open until April 21st.
Poynter recently launched the latest version of its Transforming Crime Coverage Into Public Safety Journalism course. The 7-month-long course is designed to help newsrooms transform the way they cover police and public safety in their communities.
Led by instructors Kelly McBride, Poynter senior vice president and chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, and Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Black Media Initiative Director for the Center for Community Media at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, this is the second iteration of the program after a successful pilot in 2022.
In an interview with Poynter's Barbara Allen, McBride explains why she is so passionate about transforming crime coverage. As a former police reporter, she realized that there was a huge disconnect between why newsrooms say they cover crime and how they actually cover it.
McBride believes that crime news, for the most part, is either mediocre or outright harmful. She points out that crime coverage is almost part of the DNA of local newsrooms, and changing it requires a systemwide change. The program aims to help newsrooms make this change and provide meaningful and actionable information to the public.
Applications for the online seminar are open until April 21st. The course is aimed at encouraging newsrooms to take a hard look at their crime coverage and make changes that benefit their communities. The goal is to move away from sensationalizing crime for clicks and views and towards reporting that provides meaningful information.
McBride hopes that the course will help newsrooms understand that they have a responsibility to choose to spend their resources on stories that help their audience participate in democracy, not just on stories that are interesting or sensational.
Overall, Transforming Crime Coverage Into Public Safety Journalism is an important step towards changing the way newsrooms cover crime and public safety. By highlighting the harm caused by inaccurate and sensationalized reporting, the program aims to encourage news organizations to do better and provide meaningful information that benefits their communities.
Learn more below about the Transforming Crime Coverage Into Public Safety Journalism course and its goals on Poynter's LinkedIn.