Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Asking tough questions is part of journalism

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The shooting in Folsom, Calif a few days ago - the shooting in which a 23-year-old man with a knife was shot and killed by three Folsom police officers - is a good example of a kind of journalism to which readers should object.
  • Shooting story

  • While The Sacramento Bee is congratulating itself on its investigative work on a Child Protective Services' story - and the resignation of the CPS chief - it is letting lesser stories slip through without forcing issues, asking the tough questions.

    What's wrong with the shooting story?

    From the outset, the story takes on a clearly subservient tone to the Folsom Police.
    "Folsom police have released few details..." And later, " Beattie did not name the three officers involved in the shooting."

    Well, that may be so. Police departments are usually quite secretive about their actions and inner workings.

    But please! Three police officers apparently blasted a 23-year-old man with a knife, after unsuccessfully using a taser on him. Is it too much to know who the three officers are?

    Credit should be given to The Bee for following up on the sketchy story that was originally published.

    But now it's time to turn up the heat on the Folsom Police and let readers know what happened. Perhaps instead of saying, "Folsom police have released few details..." The Bee could say that the Folsom Police are REFUSING to release details, REFUSING to say what police were involved in the shooting.

    And maybe the reporters and editors who did the tough work on the CPS story can put those investigative skills back to work before the three unnamed Folsom Police officers have trouble getting their tasers to work properly again - and shoot another resident with their service weapons.

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