Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A "Baby" Behind Bars: Robbery Turned to Murder

Recently, a 17-year-old male was charged with the murder of the 64-year-old Iowa City landlord whose death was in the news last fall because of the unanswered questions left behind. John Versypt was killed in early October and the case turned into an ongoing investigation. Local newspapers covered the murder throughout the past few months as new information was discovered. Almost four months later, someone has finally been charged with the murder, and two local publications (The Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Iowa City Press-Citizen) wrote about the young man arrested.

Interestingly, both articles describe the murder suspect in a way that highlights his young age in juxtaposition with the crime. The Gazette describes the suspect in the lead as a "17-year-old boy." Easily, the article could have read "A 17-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder...," omitting the "boy." The Gazette's decision to refer to him as a "boy" shows how they probably are highlighting his young age. The Press-Citizen, on the other hand, does not call him a boy directly. Instead, they include a quote from the landlord's widow near the lead at the top of the article, in which she calls the boy "a baby."

Both articles include either a photo (the Press-Citizen) or multiple photos (The Gazette) of the accused murderer. These photos make him look young, which, of course, he is. Not only do the lead paragraphs paint a picture of a young "baby" "boy," but so do the photos. Here are two photos that especially show a young, mischievous-looking man:


The Gazette

Aside from the representations of the suspect in both articles, on the whole, again, I think the Press-Citizen had the better article because it had more information about the case, including quotes from police and the murder victim's wife.


No comments:

Post a Comment