#MuckedUp Tuesday chat: The etiquette book for crime and justice reporting

#MuckedUp Tuesday chat: The etiquette book for crime and justice reporting

If you're to believe the wildly popular film Nightcrawler, the world of crime journalism is rife with rabid reporters and a pervasive, clichéed "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. Of course, as usual, what sells tickets at the box office is a far cry from reality. Yet there is a pertinent point introduced by the flick: the sensitivity and ethical quandaries commonly faced by journalists in this arena. Crime reporting remains a minefield of obstacles, which range from delicate interactions with victims to avoiding interfering with an ongoing investigation, and plenty of opportunity for error. Moreover, it should come as no surprise that the police are usually the primary source for the crime beat, given its other well-known nickname "the cops beat"--but where do you turn when your primary source shuts down on you? How do you cultivate a good relationship with any source, really, given the frequently disturbing tone of the stories? Is there an etiquette book for all of this?

We're delighted to announce that our next #MuckedUp guest will be Theresa Seiger, public safety reporter for AL.com and the Mobile Press Register. As a journalist on the crime beat, Seiger must work daily alongside cops and crime victims, while also perusing records to provide comprehensive crime reports for Mobile County. Before that, Seiger reported on crime and court for Raycom Media as part of its National News Hub and served as the go-to reporter for Supreme Court decisions as well as breaking crime. As you might gather from browsing her many bylines here, we're certain to learn much from our chat with her. Got a question for Theresa? Tweet or email it to me by 4 p.m. EST this Monday, and we’ll incorporate it into Tuesday’s discussion! While you’re at it, help us spread the word by clicking here, then join our chat by following the #MuckedUp hashtag on Twitter this Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.

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