Comparison across national borders lifts the blinders that lead journalists to assume that their particular crime coverage practice is the right—or only—one. It shows differences and similarities and makes visible journalism’s shared mission: to provide citizens with the information they need for reasoned discussion and self-determination. In order to keep the public trust, the press must weigh the public’s need (not want) to know against the harm publicity can cause. That need is the information that will allow audiences to address what is unraveling the edges of the social fabric. The Internet now carries crime stories across geographic boundaries. Journalists are obliged to deal with diversity inside and outside their own countries. When a community loses control because others usurp its storytelling power, that community’s ability to conduct public business is jeopardized. Conversations across boundaries are needed to address what threatens the right to self-definition and self-determination.
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