Journalism sways perceptions of crime


Pointing fingers is easy and it’s easy for journalism to turn to finger pointing. In the past, American journalists have given countries like Russia and China flack for their high incarceration rates. In reality, the U.S. has the overall highest rate of incarceration per capita in the world. (

Not only that, but stories of murders and missing people are all over the news today, and while these stories are certainly newsworthy, they give people the idea that crime is on the rise. Actually, crime in the U.S. has been steadily declining for the past 10 years.

So why do the American people not seem to know these things?

The point of journalism is to inform the public about issues and current events. Incarceration rates in the U.S. is more of an ongoing news story, but it’s still a current event which is rarely talked about.

Crime, on the other hand, is stressed too much, so that the public generally has an incorrect view of what is happening in our country.

I’m not saying journalists shouldn’t report certain things, I think we just need to keep everything in perspective more. Because it’s very difficult to believe that crime rates are dropping, when all you see on the news is another story about a shooting, and it’s hard to believe that we imprison more people per capita than Russia or China when those countries are in the news for how harsh their criminal justice system is.

Since it is the job of journalists to inform the public, I think that some of these facts and statistics I have mentioned should be reported more frequently or updates should be given more frequently, so that the U.S. population has a better idea of how things actually are.