Beijing has slapped restrictions on broadcast reporting of major crimes. "We must not let improper crime reporting harm young minds," declares a Chinese radio, film and television official. That reporting includes "cases of vicious crimes, such as kidnapping and arson" and "detailed reports of detective work and investigations by the police."
In the U.S., such restrictions would throw a curve to broadcast media. Grumpy Editor wonders what evening TV newscasts would do with mandatory shelving of time-worn "if it bleeds, it leads" format or any type of a blaze that erupts close to air time. That would also curb standing-in-the-street reporting of shootings, holdups and other bodily harm events.
To fill air time in such a situation, local TV coverage would have to focus on more news of interest to a wide audience --- taxes, politicians' activities and significant community developments coupled with more exclusives and less rehashes from the morning papers.