Local crime reports appeal to many Americans, curious about the current state of events in their neighborhood. This need for news is paired with an expectation of timeliness, and the sensational topics of the day are awaited on the 6 o’clock news. Unfortunately, the press does not have the ability to be present at every crime scene. Some news occurs so rapidly that it is seemingly impossible to arrive in a timely manner and report the happenings in detail. This job is left open for the “nightcrawler”– the freelance vulture of the digital press. I can only relate this profession to something my father once said: “theres nothing wrong with being a garbageman, somebody’s gotta pickup the trash”.
These “nightcrawlers” record the devastation of local communities, so you can see it when you flip on the television. Popular culture has idolized these individuals, as they have been personified in the movie “nightcrawler”: a popular take on a freelance journalist who reports on the various graphic crimes of Los Angeles. Despite this fictional portrayal, there have existed a long line of journalists-to-be in this wild profession.
Chicago knows no lack of violent crime stories. So far this year, the death toll has reached 91. Some see murder, others see opportunity. One Chicago nightcrawler under the alias of “Spot News” has made an appearance. This nightcrawler has appeared at crime scenes since 1991. His photos are graphic in nature, but have been dispersed to various news outlets throughout Chicago since it’s birth. These photos offer the inside look at the crime scene that every other news outlet can’t acquire. He utilizes police scanners to get to these crime scenes before anyone else can.
With all this negative publicity, someone is bound to get offended. Offended they are. Spot News has received countless death threats and harassment, but as Spot News states in the Daily Beast:”How do you tell the story of death without a body?”. For the families of the victims, Spot News’s images can be a shameful representation of their deceased loved one. One can only hope that this profession benefits society in some fashion. We’d like to think that these pictures will elucidate interest in preserving the lives of the youth. We’d also like to think that these images would instill some interest in fighting crime and black-on-black violence. But Chicago seems far from this state of mind, and as we progress into 2016, it seems as impossible as ever.