Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Brits Wear Bulletproof Vests in North Philly.

MOST NEWSCASTS IN PHILADELPHIA mention murders and shootings but rarely do they delve beyond the specific event.

A British film crew spent time with the Philadelphia police, documenting life in the inner city ... not far from Temple.

Watch the clip above, and check out parts 2 through 6. Is it good journalism? Do they delve beyond the actual events and explore the reasons why we have such poverty, crime and violence? Or is this just good footage of crazy stuff?

13 comments:

RICH DEAVER said...

I am not in this class anymore but man do I wish I was. This is exceptional!!! I think this is truly what should be seen. Unfortunately this would never make the news here especially with the Eagles and the inauguration coming but a true look at where we live. I for one am shocked at this because where the dude was arrested with a gun, where the cops thought they were going to pull it on him is 9th and Cumberland. I was looking at a house on 10th and Cumberland. No more though. This is not journalism as much as in my opinion, and I am hard to please it is prize winning work. To see this so close to where I sleep is a reality check. I think this is proboly the most interesting thing I have seen all year, elections included. A+ to this gentelman, the problem is like most new student in the class will learn is would it sell advertising time... a problem? Hmmmm I think so.... Great Clip Geo... I am rendered speechless(you know me, pretty hard) hope your holidays were well.

PS all newcommers.. best class you will take!!!!!

Shari DaCosta (Fromer J1111 Student) said...

My initial reaction was that it reminded me of an episode of "Cops". I do not believe it's quality journalism because it is only told from the perspective of the police. The documentary makers needed to do a thorough investigation of the issues of poverty, unemployment, and possibly family structure to truly understand why individuals are drawn to a life of violence and selling narcotics. The issue of violence in America has been shown from this perspective numerous times and it has not aided in rectifying the problem. Although journalists are not activists we work for the citizens, thus we must present the issue in a fresh light that will stir up discussion and new movements to rectify the problem.However,the documentary did hit home. Many of the places are only a few blocks away from my apartment.

Shari DaCosta said...

P.S. Sorry for the typo.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arty Kern said...

The documentary had incredible footage and was well put together. Theroux does not draw any conclusions about the root of the crime and poverty but he does raise many questions. No experts explained their analysis, which lacks on the investigation. Nevertheless, the raw footage served as an explanation itself. The crime doers and crime stoppers spoke and acted themselves. That gives all the information needed to create a wholesome documentary about the crime and violence in Philadelphia.

Aside from the quality of the piece, I believe that this should evoke some type of compassion for the streets. It shows the intractable problems the cops, criminals and civilians are in. I hope people watch this and realize that something needs to be done - whether it be social programs to protesting.

jermar said...

I initially saw a clip of this documentary on a hip hop website. I was instantly enamored with it and had to watch it clip by clip. I posted it to my facebook page and told anyone who would listen that this was something they needed to see.
Growing in the city of Philadelphia and being well aware of the crime rate. I felt this gave somewhat a human side to what goes on in the streets of Philadelphia (partially the reason why I wanted to major in journalism).
I think Theroux, wanted to delve deeper into the subjects of drugs, crime, poverty etc..However, it just came across as a more glorified extended version of cops with no solutions nor reasonings for the problems at hand. For instance, if my memory serves me correct there was a part where he asked a group of kids on a street corner if they know who shot someone would they tell.This is not a helpful way to get to the bottom of the problem. For the fact that these kids would not talk about these things on camera and peer pressure etc..
I do think it was good journalism because it lets the viewer know that the city of Philadelphia has some real live issues. Problems that can't be solved by closing libraries or placing more young black males in jail.

Andrea Lorenzo said...

I disagree... I think this is great journalism. It's a different aspect of journalism. It's not the typical hard-news approach with names, ages, and locations on one story. It's the documentation of crime throughout North Philadelphia. I do agree with Shari, however, that there should be documentation from people other than the police.

Also, WOW. He is really walking around Philadelphia wearing a bulletproof vest. The fact that he's wearing that almost makes me feel uncomfortable.

Levi Stewart said...

I think that this documentary is most definitely journalism. Theroux is reporting on an issue that is not only interesting to people who are in close proximity to these things (Philadelphians), but also for an international audience. I do not believe that he would have come to the U.S. to report on crime in Philly if he didn't think that it would be interesting for his viewers in Britain.

I do have to say that his reporting is going to be skewed at least a little if not a lot because of the fact that he is traveling and documenting events, A) with members of the Police, B) with a quite noticeable foreign accent and C) wearing a bulletproof vest. All three of those things are going to cause the people he is talking to, to give answers that if interviewed under different circumstances they might not have given.

However I do believe that despite all that Theroux stills creates a very interesting picture of what police and citizens in Philadelphia experience. Even if he does not begin to uncover the surface of violent/drug problems in Philadelphia.

Piccone said...

It seems like every month I hear a kid that I went to high school with dies. More times than not heroin is the cause. With the drugs comes someone that jealous of the money the dealer is making.

I live in Upper Darby it was a good place to grow up, now I'm not so sure. Harder drugs are creeping their way to the suburbs.

I just think that if police can find a way to stop the constant drug flow. Maybe the homicide rate would follow.

Anonymous said...

This was fantastic and entertaining. I watched all five parts. I'm never going to wander around the areas covered in that documentary. Ever. Highly recommended.
-Jeff McDevitt

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