Sheriff's Dept. latest to bypass the media

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is joining the trend of public agencies and elected officials publishing their own news. In this case, accounts of crimes and other law enforcement news. It's somewhat ironic, I guess, that the story about this comes from Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's own news website.

In the process, some time-honored conventions of the press release are getting a makeover, with attention-grabbing headlines, colorful quotations and even a little up-close-and-personal storytelling.

“We don’t want to do salacious,” says Parker, who’s leading the charge to train sheriff’s officials in using the new system. But there’s nothing wrong with zeroing in on “What is unique about this? Convince me to open this email.”

“You tell a story,” Parker says. “You don’t have to be a tabloid.”

This week, for example, an item went out from the sheriff’s Century Station under the headline “Crossing Guard Beaten & Robbed of Stop Sign and Whistle in Front of 20 Schoolchildren & Adults. 2 suspects arrested.”

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