By Christina Elias

Stories about crime or those that take place within the court systems are powerful both to report on a read because they are, at their core, “about breaches in the social contract, the ties that ensure civil order and freedom from fear.” The problem with writing these articles lies within the temptation to sensationalize or exaggerate to produce a more dramatic reaction or even garner more site traffic.

The problem with writing these articles lies within the temptation to sensationalize or exaggerate to produce a more dramatic reaction or even garner more site traffic. Reporters must find a way “to blend dramatic narrative with civic purpose,” like the writers and their work highlighted below.

Cathy Frye

Frye’s series “Caught in the Web: Evil at the Door” shows how articles about crime can be forces of their own through storytelling and narrative techniques that take readers through the experiences of the victims (or the perpetrator).

Linnet Myers

Myers has experience reporting on crime and the courts in the two most common ways: an “episodic cycle” or big picture. Her piece, “Humanity on Trial,” sets a court scene for readers before delving into an in-depth examination of the commonplace murders happening across Chicago.

Anne Hull

Part one of a rattling crime retelling, “Metal to Bone, Day 1: Click,” highlights the relationship between two groups seemingly at odds in urban areas: lower socioeconomic groups and the police.

Other examples:

3 killings unsolved on 2 streets

By Natalie Janicello, The Burlington Times-News

Probation isn’t a walk

By Isaac Groves, The Burlington Times-News

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