Crime Blotter a ‘Dying Art,’ Times Declares. Who are They Kidding?February 19th, 2009 by josh farley
Newspapers are shrinking. There’s really no disputing that.
But is the crime blotter fading with them?
The New York Times followed around a reporter with The Brooklyn Paper as he did his daily look-see in the police reports. They called the exercise a “practice a dying art in New York City journalism.”
Maybe in the Big Apple. But I tend to doubt that claim elsewhere. One need only Google “police blotter” to find hundreds of entries of news organizations devoted to this stuff.
One point of disclosure: I am one of those dinosaurs the NYT talks about that goes to the cop shop most days in search of newsworthy reports. I am not writing this because I’m offended by the prospect of a waning blotter section.
That said, I get a front row seat each day to witness their popularity, especially on our web site. They bring in droves of readers. And, somewhat offensively to we reporters, a little regurgitation from a police report often trumps — in reader page views — a long-researched, labored-over article that we put our heart and soul into.
Quite contrary to the New York Times’ story, if and when newspapers and media organizations recover from this recession, police blotter will likely be front and center more than it ever has been before.