Indy Cop Reporter: Website Pressure Has Changed Beat


The pressure to produce timely crime news for his newspaper’s website has changed the way he works, says Vic Ryckaert, night police reporter for the Indianapolis Star. His gear now includes not only a pen and notepad, but also a tripod and a compact digital camera that he uses to shoot both photographs and video. Ryckaert, 41, a 7-year veteran of the police beat, spoke yesterday in Indianapolis at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual convention on a panel organized by Criminal Justice Journalists entitled “100 Years of Crime Reporting: From Tabloid Journalism to Online News.”

Ryckaert and Tom Leyden, online editor at, said they are careful to use fundamental principles of good journalism to avoid posting prematurely on breaking news stories that do not pan out. “You have to stick to your basic good instincts,” said Leyden, “especially when you have a deadline every minute.” Another panelist, veteran crime reporter David Krajicek of New York, said, “Good crime reporting still is about initiative and information, whether you are tweeting from a car crash scene or sitting in your basement wearing a fedora and batting out stories on an Underwood typewriter.” He said solid reporting begins with “climbing steps and knocking on doors.”

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