Tag Archives: Chicago

Case Study 9: Fetus or unborn child

30 Mar

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Editor response:

Summary: The story is about a man, Subhas Chander, who set fire to a house and killed his 5-month pregnant daughter, her husband, whom he disliked because he was from a lower caste, and his 3-year-old grandson.

The debate: The debate is whether it should be three counts of murder or whether the unborn should be counted as a person.

The arguments: Timothy J. McNulty argues that it was four deaths not three and that the stylebook or the writer’s own personal belief was what made the writer say three. He argues that this is wrong.

A Chicago media critic said McNulty is doing the same thing and basing his reasoning on his religious beliefs.

Conclusion: Ultimately, none of us can completely separate ourselves from our personal beliefs. It is also evident that some stylebooks advocate certain religious or political beliefs, so perhaps using them as a guide in these touchy situations will always cause some stir because someone may not agree.

The best thing to do would be to use the legal sentencing to describe what happened even if it makes the headline a bit longer or avoid it all together. I am afraid we’d have to ditch the stylebook in this case.

Instead of saying, “Grandfather charged in blaze that killed 3,” the headline could read, “Grandfather charged in blaze with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of intentional homicide of an unborn child.” By saying it like this, it is an accurate and legal. People may argue that the fact that it is called a child is political and religious if it is not born, but it is the way the court has written it, so that is an option.

Another option would be to say, “Grandfather charged in death of pregnant daughter, her husband and 3-year old grandson.” In this way you avoid having to choose between child or fetus.

No matter what you do, people will find something wrong with it. Being politically correct can be so annoying sometimes. There are some things that are so controversial that there is no neutrality available when talking about them.

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