Two ongoing New York City cases illustrate ways that the news media differ in coverage of crime depending on the victim’s status. Two men were convicted yesterday of the murder three years ago of Romona Moore, 21, an immigrant from Guyana.
Yet there was much more media attention to the indictment of a bouncer in the death of another woman who disappeared from Manhattan, Imette St. Guillen, 24, a graduate student from John Jay College of Criminal Justice who lived on the Upper West Side. The New York Times says that the Brooklyn district attorney’s office has logged calls about the St. Guillen case from CNN, MSNBC, “Good Morning America” and Geraldo Rivera. Public attention and the allocation of police resources often coincide. “It’s sort of chicken and egg; the media often helps set the police agenda,” said David J. Krajicek, author of “Scooped! Media Miss Real Story on Crime While Chasing Sex, Sleaze and Celebrities.” “It’s almost redundant to say it at this point, but it has to do with social status, wealth, and race.”