The San Francisco Chronicle has now run its second “murder haiku,” my name for its three paragraph blurbs about non-sexy murders in Oakland, about the Dimond District slaying of Antoine Crossland, a 23-year-old Castro Valley resident. The shooting death occurred a few weeks ago less than a mile down the hill from me, late at night next to a library in what is a bustling day-time commercial district. This is not in an area known for violence, so it should generate a tad more coverage than murders in other parts of our city.
The news today is that there are a couple photos of people wanted for questioning in connection with the case. Still, it’s been more than three weeks since the murder and the combined coverage by the Chronicle and Oakland Tribune, in two articles each, tops out at about 10 column-inches.
Bloggers in big urban areas do a fine job when the cases and stories get big enough, say the Oscar Grant shooting, Chauncey Bailey’s murder or the horrendous slayings of four Oakland Police officers. But for lesser crimes, there is not exactly a rush to fill the reporting void. Staffs have been slashed. Heck, if I wasn’t trying to grind out a living today, this blogger would go pound the pavement to try to fill in the blanks on Mr. Crossland’s downfall. I still might….
Henry Lee of The Chronicle and Harry Harris of The Tribune are both good, experienced reporters. However, with the layoffs and shrinking staffs, I’m sure these two hardly have the time for more than churning out more murder haiku or just doing a lot of their reporting over the phone.
Get used to it. We will all have to hunt a bit more to find aggressive police and crime reporting.