Slavish Repetition In News

Sid Whitaker
Wed Sep 22 11:35:09 EDT 2004

Maybe we probably perceive crime as occuring less frequently in tonier
neighborhoods. This might suggest it's more newsworthy when it does happen in a
place we don't necessarily expect it to. For example, murders, robberies, and
other violent crimes that occur in places such as Wellesley, Weston, Dover, and
other affluent Boston suburbs sometimes appear get bigger play in the local
newspapers than if they take place in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Mattapan. Not to
say this is always the case---the circumstances of the crime often drive the
coverage---but location is a big factor in determining news "value."

Sid Whitaker

> Can someone more closely affiliated with newsgathering than I
> please answer the following question?
> Why does every story about the kidnapping of 2 Americans & 1 Briton
> conspicously noted that they were kidnapped in a "Wealthy",
> "Upscale" or "Affluent" neighborhood in Baghdad?
> Does a higher income level of the neighborhood's residents
> somehow make this a more despicable crime?  Or a more
> improbable crime?  Why?

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