Tag Archives: case study

Case Study 6: Suicidal Blond

28 Feb

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Summary: Suicidal model Jeanette Sliwinski killed three Chicago musicians after running three red lights.

Notes on the piece:  In this particular article, the people who are quoted are prosecutors, police, witnesses, lawyers and the most specific source is Dave Meis, a relative of one of the victims. The journalist needs to go back and get names so that the piece will be more credible. Anyone could say “police said.” Also, the name of the model is given really low in the story. It needs to be moved up probably to the lead. It would be appropriate in the lead because she is a model and known figure.

The piece is about a murder trial that is about to begin. How much coverage will actually be allowed so that the rights of the defendant are protected? Is it even worth covering an impending trial if the information given will be vague, and the summary of a police report?

At the end of the article, it is mentioned that during her arrest Sliwinski has been modeling which cause much fury against the defendant. People were angry with her, especially relatives of the victims. She was sentenced to reckless homicide and eight years in prison. She got out in four years and had the defense of “insanity.”  Information like this, though it is fact, can heavily influence potential jury and others who need to see her “objectively.”

The quote by Dave Meis is a harsh one, though one must see that he is brother of one of the victims. He said it would have been great if Sliwinski would have succeeded.

Technically, many say she went out to kill, and she did succeed. She just got the wrong people. Throughout the piece it is also important to, in an effort to be fair, make things that are alleged seem alleged and not label or assume, such as calling her a “suicidal woman.” Reports say that she changed her story many times and also denied trying to take her own life, so it wouldn’t be fair to label her that way.


Chicago Murder Trial Begins for Suicidal Blond

Former model killed three beloved musicians with car in bid to end her life, prosecutors say

They didn’t see her coming.

It was lunch hour in Chicago on July 14, 2005, when three local musicians, who worked day jobs together at an audio electronics company, were stopped at a traffic light in a Honda Civic in a suburb north of the city.

At a speed of 70 miles per hour, authorities estimated, former model Jeanette Sliwinski, who, according to police, was trying to kill herself, ran three red lights and hit the Honda Civic from behind in her red Mustang convertible.

Both cars flew airborne on impact, witnesses said. Each car landed crushed upside-down on the pavement.

The three young men died. The Sliwinski walked away with a broken ankle.

Today, more than two years later, her murder trial begins.

“The one thing that would have brought this thing to closure would have been had she been successful in what she set out to do that day,” said Dave Meis, older brother of victim Douglas Meis, referring to the alleged suicide attempt by Sliwinski, who was then 23 years old.

Sliwinski’s lawyers have denied that she was attempting suicide. Her current attorney did not return a call seeking comment on the case.

The accident and subsequent arrest brought Sliwinski internet infamy. Many blogs and websites have posted modeling pictures of Sliwinski since she was arrested.

Link to Dropbox where this case study can be found: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Public-Editing%20Rodgers#:::93509468

Dossier on team members: Google dossier on team members

Case study: When an eagle eats a dog

24 Jan

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

In the discussion with peers, it was clear that we were all skeptical of the minimal sources used in the story, but still we accepted the story as fact. We were not skeptical enough to question the validity of the entire story. Different aspects, however, of the story bothered us because there were small things that contradict what we are taught in journalism.

1] Lack of Sources: The only identified source was Dennis Fleming. There is supposedly an account from “witnesses,” but the lack of identifiable sources makes the story less credible. There is credibility in numbers and names. This story lacks this support of evidence. The story says the witnesses said the pet was five feet away from the RV when it happened. Who are these witnesses? Anyone could make that up. Also, the reader doesn’t ever find out who the couple is. Ironically, the story revolves around the couple and their dog.

2] Ambiguity: In journalism, professors always tell you to get every detail. This would mean the names of everyone including the snatched dog. It would also include the name of the gas station as someone mentioned during the group discussion. Also, the story makes mention of a “Chihuahua-like dog.” What is that? The readers should be given an exact breed. Another detail that would be useful is why the couple went to Alaska.

Also noted, was a lack of clarity in the headline, “Eagle Snatches Dog While Owner Watches.” The headline makes it sound like the dog was snatched and the owner just watched. Perhaps a more appropriate headline would clarify and give the readers more of a feel for what actually happened.

Ambiguity leads to confusion, and it may deceive the reader or leave them unsatisfied. This could lead to a diminishing trust from the reader to the news organization. A factor that should always be present in journalism is accuracy.

3] Ethics and sensitivity toward the reader:  There is the quote, “It was the damnedest thing I ever saw,” which may be seen as insensitive to a reader. A parent may not like the use of “damnedest” in a paper that his child can pick up and read. Consideration for the variety of readers should be taken.

Also, the fact that while the woman was inconsolable, it says her husband came out of the motor home grinning and he was flailing his arms in the air yelling “Yeah! Yeah!” Even if the reader is not offended, the woman whose dog was snatched is probably not too happy. Ethically speaking, is this piece of information crucial to the story? Maybe it portrays the husband in a stereotypical way, so ethically it should not be included.

4] Skepticism is lacking: In journalism you are always told that if your mother tells you that she loves you, check it out. That sort of skepticism was lacking in this story. The story ended up being an urban legend. The writer chose to depend on one source. He or she put all of his or her trust in Dennis Fleming. Dennis Fleming turned out to be a creative man without an ounce of truth in the story he retold.

If more questions would have been asked in relation to solving the ambiguity and source problem, maybe the lie would’ve been revealed before actual publication.

5] Experts: Expert sources were necessary in this story to see if truly an eagle can snatch a dog. Wildlife Service could have answered this question. I asked the question of whether it was feasible for an eagle to eat a dog; not just lift it, but eat it, on Quora.

The only response I received was from Neil Russo saying, “A toy dog or a small puppy yes, but not any larger; especially the Golden Eagle, hawks, falcons and owls.”

He is a part of the general population who would believe this story. Fortunately, the story turned out to be untrue. An eagle cannot lift that much weight, even the one of a “Chihuahua-like dog.” According to the Bald Eagle Info website, eagles primarily eat fish and sometimes ducks and birds, but not dogs.

Experts add credibility to the story, and they can clarify misconceptions.

*Bald Eagle Info website: http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle3.html.