Signal Cleveland’s Criminal Justice and Community Safety Reporter Stephanie Casanova goes on the record to talk about her community-first style of criminal justice reporting.
Casanova explains how traditional news media tends to cover crime and safety stories — ”parachuting” in, reporting the immediate news, and then leaving the community quickly…which can leave readers and viewers with a distorted view of a community.
Watch Stephanie Casanova explain her approach to community journalism
A message from Stephanie
Hi, my name is Stephanie Casanova. I’m the criminal justice and community safety reporter here at Signal Cleveland, a community-centered newsroom. We’re trying to report stories through the lens of the experiences of everyday residents.
My previous experience as a breaking news reporter didn’t approach journalism like that. That kind of traditional reporting sometimes uses harmful storytelling techniques — reporters parachute into a community, report the breaking news and then leave people with a distorted image. After working in that realm for a while, I increasingly wanted to go deeper into those stories and to show what a community is really like.
When I first saw Signal Cleveland’s mission statement, I was excited for the opportunity to approach reporting from a community standpoint instead of that quick in-and-out type of reporting.
In criminal justice stories, there’s a lot of gray area around people’s backgrounds, how they can change over time and how our criminal justice system sometimes fails them. In my work, I want to tackle that gray area and show the humanity of people who go through the system.
I want my stories to help communities understand each other. I believe understanding the experiences of people going through the criminal justice system will ultimately make our communities safer. And it’s not just the person going through the system we need to understand — it’s their victims, the victims’ families, and, ultimately, all community members.
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