Philadelphia’s City Hall houses the city’s Court of Common Pleas
Philadelphia, Pa–This following semester, Temple University journalism students Naveed Ahsan, Beth Boyle and Ashley Dougherty will serve as crime beat reporters in the Philadelphia area over the next few months.
With thousands of employed police officers and dozens of prisons, Philadelphia and its suburbs are often perceived as criminal hotbeds.
The group will not only provide frequent crime updates but also explore several community crime prevention groups. For example, Mothers in Charge is an advocacy group that offers grief support for mothers who’ve lost children due to violence and also provides mentorship programs for young adults. Crime reports are largely comprised of facts and figures. Consequently, journalists fail to provide portraits of the actual victims and survivors.
Naveed, Beth and Ashley are also going to explore the streets of both Philadelphia and the suburbs to cover everything from court trials to petty crimes.
Covering more than 140 square miles, the Philadelphia Police Department is one of the nation’s largest police forces, dealing with crimes every single day. Stations in Philadelphia’s suburbs, including Springfield, Lower Merion and Upper Darby have much smaller forces and Naveed, Beth and Ashley are interested in looking into the differences that city and suburban officers face.
The trio of journalists will also take a look inside local courthouses. Philadelphia is home to numerous courthouses including the U.S. Federal Courthouse and the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice.
Media, located just outside Philadelphia, is home to the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. With 20 judges and three senior judges, this courthouse is part of the trial level court system in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Police Department has its own blog, where crime reports and crime maps can be found. Other local media, like Philly.com and Action News cover crime throughout the city and its suburbs.
Crime is a common occurrence around the city and many stories don’t make the news, so Naveed, Beth and Ashley are looking to uncover those types of stories.
Sources for the pieces will vary. The trio is hoping to speak with officials–including police officers and judges–as well as Philadelphia citizens affected by crime. Court documents and police reports will also be used as primary sources for each of the stories that will be posted throughout the semester.