Blot, Please
April 21, 2012 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Are there any good online police blotters for Long Island, NY that comes complete with accident photos?
posted by InterestedInKnowing to Law & Government (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
try it might not have accident photos though.
posted by basketballandinternet at 9:24 AM on April 21, 2012

Accident photos usually aren't included in police blotters for the following reasons:

• The police blotter itself actually comes from a press conference, daily or weekly briefing with the precinct's press officer. When I was a reporter for a daily paper, every (credentialed) member of the press who showed up to the daily briefing would get to sift through the police reports -- from which certain information was sometimes redacted, as well as one or two press releases that contained extended information about particular incidents. Then the press officer would show up, we'd ask him a few questions and joke around for ten minutes, and then we'd all go back to our respective newsrooms. So by the time the news in the blotter reached the community, it was two to three days old, at minimum.

• Because of this weird reporters-working-with police thing, you get a situation where the cops are sometimes not willing to provide all the information immediately and sometimes news orgs don't find out about an incident until up to a week later. Obviously you can't take photos if you weren't physically at the scene and didn't find out about it until after the fact. Police departments do not generally share crime scene photographs taken by their guys, because that's considered evidence from an open investigation.

There is no opportunity for photos in blotter reportage, except where police artists have created a composite of someone they're searching for.

• This is why newsrooms have police scanners. Back in the day, we'd have the scanner on at all times, so that if there was a fire or a major accident we'd know immediately. In those situations, we would send a reporter out to the scene.

So when you're getting reportage that includes accident photos, it means the news organization sent not only a reporter but also a photographer, who was able to access the scene to take pictures. That's only going to happen with the 'bigger' stories, because it requires a bit of pull to access crime scenes, and even then you have to be willing to wait around for hours. Sometimes in the rain. (And, when working with cops and female, always in three-inch heels. I think the SPJ has a rule about it.)

What I'm getting at is that (a) Newsday is probably going to have more accident photos than anyone else will, because they're the largest organization doing business on Long Island, followed by Long Island Press, and then you'll find less and less crime coverage as you get to the smaller newspapers. The coverage you do find will probably be more comprehensive, though, since the smaller papers tend to publish weekly and thus have more time to put together a long piece with photos. Also, (b) newspapers don't do as much crime scene photography as do local TV stations, since television is an image-based medium and thus scene photos are an imperative. So you'd want to look at News 12 Long Island for more "photos from the scene" type stuff.

Check out your local, too. In my neighborhood, the police blotter is surprisingly good.

If you want up-to-the-minute reporting of every person in your small suburb who ever got a traffic ticket, look to your most local paper.

One last thing: Crime scene photos are generally considered to be either (a) gruesome or (b) boring, so a lot of organizations don't publish many of them.
posted by brina at 3:06 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

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