On February 3rd the local paper reported on a double murder in Chester with the usual police report recap and a plea to anyone with information to call the phone numbers they listed. It was about a 200 words article on page 7 atop another crime story committed in Chester at Harrah’s casino to fill the page. The front page was a pic of man shoveling snow behind the blurb SNOW KIDDING.
Yesterday, the front page looked like this…
At first glance, it looks like there was another big violent event in Chester probably occurring yesterday because it’s on the front page. But no! As it says on the bottom, this story has something to do with someone being charged in a homicide. You only have to turn a single page to have page 3 staring right in your face with the day’s top story taking up more than half the page, and again, joined with another Chester crime story to fill the page – because folks love reading about all their Chester crime in one place.
In my crazy mixed up mind, I’d expect a double murder in the county to be a front page story and the charging of the bad guy to be an article buried somewhere inside. Our local paper doesn’t think twice to continue doing it their way.
By blasting the front page as they did yesterday does harm in several ways which looks somewhat intentional. The front page is visually so intense that no one can walk by the paper and not take a look. It will cement in your mind that Chester is a violent place. It may even sell a few papers.
It also tells the same story twice. The crime had already been reported on February 3rd. Yesterday, they repeated just about everything in that article and added new details. If you missed the story the first time, you wouldn’t miss it yesterday. Even if you caught the story the first time, you probably forgot about it by now. It easily appears like two separate cases if you didn’t remember the first. That adds to cementing in people’s mind that Chester is violent place.
I happened to read the Duchess of Sussex’s comments after winning her lawsuit against British newspapers when she said…
The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news. We all lose when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain.Meghan Markle
The only thing I conclude when a person being charged for a homicide gets more ink than the homicide itself is, according to the newspaper, the value of life is not as important to their readers as the value of punishment.