High-profile stories draw media to Janesville

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Frank Schultz
Monday, May 12, 2014

JANESVILLE—Police Chief Dave Moore faced eight TV cameras and a bevy of reporters Monday in a packed conference room at the police department.

The scene was similar to two other news conferences Moore held last week to discuss high-profile cases, but it was unusual for any news event in Janesville to get this kind of big-city attention.

News of a homicide,  an attempted homicide, a claim by the suspect that he had killed three people and the disappearances of two other people appears to have garnered the interest of a number of news directors.

Tuesday's TV crews came from Madison and Rockford, Illinois, as well as one from Milwaukee. An Associated Press reporter also joined the local reporters to quiz Moore.

The Gazette has staffed all the news conferences with three reporters: One to take notes, one to post developments on Twitter and one to record video.

News conferences themselves, with their promise of new developments, attract news people. For police, the news conference is the most efficient way to communicate with the news media, Moore said.

If he had assigned one person to take calls, that could easily turn into a 12-hour day, Moore said, and if several people took calls, that could put a dent in their other duties.

Moore said he also strives to be fair in telling all the reporters what he can, as soon as he can, and again, a press conference is the most efficient way to give everyone the same information.

“I think we'll build some trust with the media if we share as much as we can,” Moore said.

The police department itself has become a part of the media. One officer was assigned to record video and audio of the press conference, so that if anyone claims a particular statement was made, police can check the tape and know what actually was said, the officer said.

A city of Janesville spokeswoman, along with a public-information intern and the city manager, also attended Monday's news conference as spectators.

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