Crime Scenes with a 100-year gap in between By Monica Tandung
Here are some brief description of the news companies I used for my news research. The New York Tribune - was first established in 1841 by Horace Greeley. He wanted to provide reliable and accurate newspaper that gives out the right information for the society. Supporting abolition and defeat of Confederacy, the newspaper became one of the largest in circulation during the American Civil War in 1861-1865. In 1966 it merged with New York Herald and its name changed to the New York Herald Tribune. Its original papers are still conserved at The Center for American History, University of Texas in Austin. The Day Book, Chicago - established by Edward Willis Scripps. It was first published in the form of a tabloid, presenting stories most likely to catch the public's attention. The Day Book had an influence in the style of journalism which was new fro the readers. According to the Chronicling America, it was also the most profitable newspaper organization at its time. The New York Times - a daily newspaper that has been publishing news in NYC since 1851. It is until today the most famous American news website with millions of readers every month. It's company's motto is "All the News that's fit to Print." All of these medium were very useful for me to look
up the news coverage I had to find for this first assignment. Our medium for news might have changed throughout the different periods but there is still one topic in it that never fades... Crime. For the first class activity, I found a short article from a 100 years ago (September 1, 1911) on the New York Tribune about a woman that whose handbag was stolen among a big crowd during the day time. I also found a recent article from The New York Times about a similar case regarding robbery from March 16 2011 and also January 10 2012. There are several crimes stories that are found on each page. On the one from 2011, there are at least nine different crime scenes and from the recent one in 2012 there are at least five. These crime stories consists of robbery, breaking and entering private property, purse thefts and auto thefts. Even though these articles share a same topic we can notice differences among them. The recent articles from 2011 and 2012 are locat-
ed at a certain location of the news' website. They are both categorized in "The Week in Crime" section of the news. Through this observation we can relate how today's online news is more convenient since we, as the audience, are able to choose any kind of stories and topic that we want to read. An example of the division of news category in an online source are: today's news, business section, editorials, opinion, sports, arts and entertainment section, etc. Each may vary depending on the layout and content. Some news company have extra sections other than the ones shown in the main page, for example in The Japan Times they have a "What's Up" section for upcoming events during the weekend. In this case, The New York Times have a section of "The Week in Crime," which specializes in crime-related stories. Other than being an easy way for people to find news that they are interested in, these sections also help for researches or journalists with certain interest to deepen their studies and knowledge about the certain topic.
You may also notice how "Hey, can you pass me the sports section?" is not a strange phrase or sentence for you to hear. This is because not only in the online source, but all news companies today also have their newspapers categorized in different sections which makes it more convenient for people to read the daily information. On the newspaper page of New York Tribune - September 01, 1911, the stories are divided and placed differently than what we are used to see today where each page have a common topic. We can also see differences in the way of covering the story and presenting it to the audience. Different beats of articles are presented on the same page. This could also happen because there were not many similar events happening at the same time which could be categorized in one section. Whereas nowadays more similar stories can be put together because of the search advantages we have to look for and cover a certain kind of news beat. Here is an example of a sentence from the recent New York Times,
robber took $190 from a man as he sat in Fort Greene Park on March 12 at 2:45 p.m., the police said.”
It is simple and straight forward, unlike the piece from the old writing. Compare it to this sentence from the story from The Day Book,
hree weeks ago a patrolman on West 92d st. saw the cloaked figure of a woman carrying a bag hurrying down the street. The patrolman stopped her and asked where she was going in such a hurry at 2 o’clock in the morning.” The use of language is more likely to be a story that we may find in novels or story books. This piece is taken fromChicago's The Day Book in 1912. It has a more complicated story into it which involves a man who acts as the "leader" and has people stealing jeweleries for him. I find it interesting because there are more quotes in the storyline, including the detailed conversation between the policemen and the young girl. The storybook-like way of presenting the news is easier to follow for me. Whereas in today's
news the details of the event are given in a summary and in the reporter's own words. I like reading it because it is like reading a mini crime novel and I don't think you can get that feeling from reading today's news unless it was intended to be written in that certain way. In conclusion, through my observation of comparing the different news pieces from the different periods I realized that there are several key points we are able to pick up. First, information of current events around us are always important because we need to know what is happening in the world. It doesn't matter from which period we come from, we always look for news. Also, it could be because of the limited amount of sources for news, the structure and layout of the page is different from today. Another difference is the language use. Perhaps this could also be because of the journalism development where the use of language and way of covering stories are taught to be in a certain way in today's era. However despite all of these different key points, we realize that certain news topics such as crime has always been around and existed since a long period of time. All of this are very surprising and interesting for me to know and learn.