Friday, April 20, 2012

WLWT Has a Slide Show of People Arrested and Not Yet Convicted

WLWT has a slideshow on its website which is titled See Who Got Arrested - Photos: This consists of a slideshow, like you might see on the Enquirer's Metromix, with a caption listing the crime for which they were arrested. They've only been arrested, not convicted, and they have their pictures up. Most of the crimes are more serious crimes (murder, rape, assault) and a large number I've seen covered previously in the Enquirer with the same arrest photo.

I don't like this photo montage. I don't like it because it's tone is tabloid. It is like a raw dump of crime thrown on the floor for a rabid pack of viewers to consume. There's nothing unethical or knowingly false about what they reported, just how they are reporting it. If the television station wants to write a story about each person's alleged crime, many of which they have, then fine. Just throwing up a photo and adding a sentence below is not journalism and does a dis-service to the public.

What also is very disappointing is that this slideshow made editorial choices not based on a reasonable requirements of content, structure or relevance, but instead on marketing. This a group of people who got arrestest and that WLWT wanted to show in hopes of gaining a wider set of viewers looking for pictures to look at, not because they want to consume news. It is not even a full list of everyone arrested. The only definition listed of the group is this:
"WLWT.com posts some notable mugshots from across the Tri-State. An arrest does not mean anyone has been convicted of a crime."
Notable in this instance I believe means tawdry or what ever will get more eyeballs. Yes, I'm helping get more eyeballs, however I will suggest to WLWT that if they are going to do a police blotter style story, do it right or just don't do it. We don't need the pictures. Yes, pictures get you more web hits, but it is not journalism, it is exploitation.

1 comment:

  1. Cox papers do this routinely
    Springfield
    http://projects.springfieldnewssun.com/cache/galleries/News/Crime/jail_mugs_tricounty/
    Dayton
    http://projects.daytondailynews.com/cache/galleries/News/Crime/jail_mugs_greene/
    Hamilton
    http://projects.journal-news.com/cache/galleries/News/Crime/jail_mugs_butler/
    When I was a kid in a smaller town, they would list the night's/week's arrests with names, nowadays they post the picture in the intertubes.

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