Solutions Journalism Analysis

     The story entitled, “Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm” from today’s class readings does a very clear job of presenting a problem and then offering a suggested solution. The piece opens on a vignette starring a journalist and former data analyst who was able to catch a trend of murders within Gary, Indiana before any member of law enforcement decided to pay attention. This vignette pointed to the larger problem of the article that is presented subsequently, the problem of skyrocketing crime in American cities. This problem is highlighted in bold face type; the writer then proceeds to identify other related problems such as the disorganization of police statistics, great variations in murder rates across America, etc.

     Then, the journalist explains this man’s bold new algorithm derived from years of data analysis and research, a system that could potentially link unsolved murderers in a specific area to each other under certain criteria. This algorithm could apparently be a solution to the dauntingly high rate of unsolved murders in America, an issue that is often overlooked by incredibly busy law enforcement officials. The article even explains how the system works in an easily digestible manner to make it accessible to the lay reader. While offering a solution, the article also addresses other contributing issues such as the problem of variations in city crime rates and, an enormously important issue to this case, the fact that many law enforcement agencies do not want to hear the information that this algorithm provides. This journalist is unleashing very critical data that could weigh heavily on the policemen who worked these murder cases.

Overall, the article does a very good job of presenting a widespread issue and offering a very interesting solution from a man who was simply fascinated by the numbers.


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