A LITTLE disagreement between the local newspapers in north London and the police sergeants who read them has always existed about the way crime is reported. Senior officers often complain that the way newspaper stories are worded and presented increases the fear of crime, even if actual crime figures are in decline. I’d argue that the Camden New Journal, by trying these days to avoid words like ‘beast’, ‘caged’, ‘evil’, etc doesn’t always rush to the sensationalism that newspapers are accused of.
And I shouted ‘it was them, not us’ a little louder when I read north London novellist Amanda Craig‘s description of being assaulted on her doorstep in the Daily Mail, first published a couple of weeks ago. It’s not that Amanda’s tale shouldn’t be told, it should be. It raises lots of questions about how people should deal with intimidating behaviour. What’s surely more likely to increase the fear factor is the DM’s ‘in terrifying detail’ headline and the little extra ribbon of a posed picture. Here, a set-up of a ‘relatively calm street’ being watched by spooky ne’er do wells under orange lamplight is used to illustrate the story. Judge for yourself: a little OTT? I think they could have gone without it.