Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Some comments on your critiques:

I would say read the bogus trend stories linked on syllabus and then think about this story once again. This article makes me want to believe that inner-city violence between females exists, but also that it dropping because police say so. The conflict of interest between what was being said by the teenagers and the police confused me. A follow-up or replacement story could include interviews with the girls regarding why they think violence exists and how they would react to it, rather than hearing information from bureaucrats about a drop in violent attacks.

You have a sense there is something wrong here, but have not quite identified it: I’m not sure what to think about the article on girl violence. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything remarkable about the article if I’d read it as a stand-alone.
I suppose it could be playing up the violence of a few crimes to get a story out of it. Despite an overall trend of decreased female violence, it insists on focusing on the extreme outcomes. It even cites one attack, saying “such extreme brutality remains rare.”
The reporter may be struggling to make a mountain out of a molehill or has written the story too broadly for a detailed look at the rise in girl cliques. To focus the article, it would be nice to have one consistent perspective we could jump back to, such as a single victim or official. As it stands, it’s too broad.
Other than playing up one specific angle, I don’t notice anything too unusual about this piece.

Shows you are thinking like a focused, critical thinking editor. Yes! And I like the note re cosmic!!! This story, I feel, is a good example of a reporter trying too hard on a slow news day. The angle is somewhat vague, the information not heavily substantiated. Frankly, I fail to see how this topic is new(s). Girls, boys, men and women have been beating up each other since man came on the scene. And, the most glaring omission: The writer doesn't even source or quote anyone who runs with a female posse that is meting out group beatings. This is the story's biggest fault, and it could make the reader question the validity, relevance and importance of the story. I know I did. Also, the writing style borderlines on sensational. And as far as the sourcing and facts in the story go, the writer presents two contradictions: First, violent crime among women is up, according to teenagers, street works and youth advocates. But the story then goes on to quote Boston police as saying that violent crime among girls has fallen since 2005. As a journalist, not only is your job to report the news, but also to synthesize and analyze the news in such a way that is easily digestible to the everyday reader. The writer fails in this regard. The writer says the reason Boston police claim violent crime among women has decreased is because the victims are either afraid to tell authorities, or the injuries not severe enough to be noticed. This argument Is flawed. First, if the victim is beaten badly enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, this could very well lead to a doctor reporting the crime instead of the victim. Second, if the beatings aren't bad enough to cause noticeable harm, is this really a big enough issue to warrant an in-depth story? Finally, there are a few angles the writer could have use that would make this story more interesting or more “cosmic.” What is the trend of violence among women nationwide? How does it compare to Boston? A second, more cosmic angle could be to address the culture of violence among women. When did it start? When did it become a serious issue? What are the sociological, cultural and historical implications? Is it isolated to the United States, or is it prevalent in other countries, too?

Yes!! Shows you are thinking like a focused, critical thinking editor.

What’s being asserted here is messed up feminism. The shock at women being capable of violence in almost the same capacity as men, specifically how women can’t pull the trigger the way men can, runs throughout. But I still feel like I don’t understand what’s going on. So there is an increase in violence but the reasoning for the fighting seems flimsy. And the quotes are there, but more is needed to make this story feel complete. This story also asserts a lack of police intervention. But if this is as prevalent as the article seems to claim wouldn’t police have seen these roaming groups of violent women jumping people? Or is the article claiming the police shirking their duties just because the subjects are women? Female gangs are certainly a new thing, but the presentation feels off. And the portrayal of women seems to limit the depth of women’s feelings to good is nice and bad is mean. The story is novel in the statistics but the gender element is certainly played up. The numbers, particularly in the number of examples, are off and the article tries to spin them in another direction.

I disagree with this argument - journalism is a kind of rough empiricism.
I like the story because it looks like the writer went to the street and asked people about female violence instead of relying on police reports and statistics. I really like this approach because statistics can show certain trends, but sometimes they are not correct. In this case, statistics say that attacks by girls have decreased. However, the reporter finds a lot of people who thinks the opposite.

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