Wednesday, April 27, 2011


My first purchase after monetizing this blog will be a radio scanner (or maybe an iphone if somebody makes an app like that) but until then gut intuition and luck work pretty well.

On Monday I decided to up pick my 4-year-old at preschool a little early, so I'm driving though town center at 11:30 AM and instantly spot two marked cruisers near the bank, but the unmarked car behind one of them tipped me instantly. Why would the chief (who usually walks uptown to get his coffee at The Black Sheep) drive his car to Bank of America, less than 1,000 yards from the police station? Obviously he was in a hurry.

So I double park, snap a couple pictures grab my daughter, speed home, compose a short twitter-like lead and post the breaking news story first (with photos).

Yesterday I go to the APD blog at 12:44 PM and spot the breaking news, stop-the-presses information they had just that minute uploaded about capturing the second perp in the Great Town Center Bank Caper.

So I again compose a twitter-like lead, create a hot link to their timely post and update my post at 12:45 PM, then quickly send a link to my friends at the Gazette, Republican, and Ch 22 TV. Then wait...and watch. As Commander Spock would say, "fascinating."

Ch 22 was first to post online the hot story around 1:05 PM, the Springfield Republican second at 1:20 PM and the Gazette third about five minutes later. But not one of them credited the Amherst Police blog as the source of information.

I also sent the link to my friend Mary Serreze who owns the hyperlocal news site Northampton Media and she instantly published the link under the headline "Amherst Police Department Blog: 2nd Arrest Made in Bank Robbery

Journalists should always "consider the source" when gathering information; but it should not matter in the least the means by which that information is disseminated. And for the understaffed police department it's a lot easier to publish a press release on their blog rather than individually field phone calls, emails, and in-person requests for interviews from multiple media outlets.

The Internet is the most powerful journalistic tool to come along since the invention of the printing press. Embrace it!


S.P. Sullivan said...

There is, in fact, an app for that. You can also listen to police scanners online - is one that comes to mind, but I don't think Amherst is on there.

We have Springfield and Holyoke scanners on our site, but the technology is pretty Web 1.0. An ongoing project of mine is to get them streaming via a flash player like you'd play any mp3 on a website.

LarryK4 said...

Now I have a good excuse for an iphone.

Anonymous said...

Your iphone would also take the photos/video (no need to drag the camera around) and you can use the voice recognition component to record your verbal news and it will develop the text, which you can later edit.

S.P. Sullivan said...

In three years your iPhone will run the blog for you.

Anonymous said...

You mean you got a photo of a police car outside a bank? Incredible, tell me more. What an amazing scoop. You are one heck of a cub reporter.

LarryK4 said...

Actually it was one-and-a-half police cars and one complete police officer.

I purposely only showed half the chief's car because he probably does not want to be overly conspicuous.

maryd said...

actually, it was a scoop. I heard a brief report on the news that a bank was robbed and they were sending a reporter. I looked all over for more info and found out here they had already caught the guy. Good job Larry, and thanks.

LarryK4 said...

My pleasure.

Glad they caught them so quickly (will maybe send a message to desperate folks not to try that)

Anonymous said...

Not exactly the brightest bulbs in the pack.