Michelle’s media analysis–crime story

By Michelle Li

This week I decided to find out an excellent crime stories. I find “23 Arrested in Hemet Crime Probe” by Robert J. Lopez and Andrew Blankstein on the Los Angeles Times.

This article is a very good example of a crime story. The structure of is what Harrower mentioned in the book–Martini story form. The story firstly begins with an inverted-pyramid lead to include the key facts. The lede includes all the important information (5 Ws) that “A Riverside County task force arrested 23 people Tuesday after serving search warrants at dozens of locations as part of an investigation into attacks by a suspected white supremacist group against Hemet police, according to law enforcement authorities.” The things that made this crime standing out from others are “23 people got arrested “(a big number), and “suspected white supremacist group.” In the second paragraph, the author reveals more information about the suspects, who being sent into custody on suspicion of “narcotics, weapons and parole violations.”  The inverted-pyramid has elements of traditional news stories that can catch readers’ attention as well as present the story to them.

Then it’s the chronology narrative that presents the story step by step, detailing what happened. The article says last month, authorities arrested 33 alleged members of the Vagos motorcycle gang. In recent months, the attacks have involved booby traps set at the headquarters of the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force, officials said. In December, a utility line was redirected to fill the offices with gas. In February, a “zip gun” was hidden by the gate to the task force office and rigged to fire. In early March, police said, a “dangerous” device was found near the unmarked car of a task force member. Also for readers who knew little about the previous crimes that have occurred, this information can give them the history of crimes against the Helmet Police department. I believe that by reading about what has happened previously in this matter; readers are able to form a better opinion of this meeting and what its true intentions were.

The article did a very good job on avoiding sloppy allegations in crime stories. The word choosing is very important. The author used neither somebody “committed” a crime, nor qualifiers like “accused” or “alledged” on the suspects. The use of “suspected” shows that whether the crime was done by the white supremacist group is still under investigation. The author’s tone always remains calm and neutral throughout the story. The facts are presented by the quote from the “law enforcement authorities,” and “the Hemet Police Department,” which basically just telling readers what happened. More neutral wording is always more acceptable in crime stories.

Hemet arrests

Hemet Police Capt. Dave Brown, speaking to the media about Tuesday’s arrests, said some of those held have gang connections but didn't specify what gangs.

About michelleqianli

Michelle QianLi is currently studying MCDM at University of Washington. She is a native-born Chinese and came to U.S. in 2008.
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