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Is Amazon’s Ring doorbell starting a true crime news website?

Is Amazon’s Ring doorbell starting a true crime news website?
[Photo: courtesy of Ring]

The Amazon-owned internet doorbell company Ring is hiring. However, it’s not a tech job or a member of the logistics team. The company is hiring a managing editor to help “deliver breaking crime news alerts.” That’s right, your doorbell is getting into the true crime business.

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According to the job listing, the right candidate will have “deep and nuanced knowledge of American crime trends,” “strong news judgment that allows for quick decisions in a breaking news environment,” and at least three years in management. Hopefully, they aren’t looking for a candidate with three years of management in internet doorbell news management, because we’re going to guess that person does not exist.

So what exactly would this managing editor and the team of trusted reporters be doing? Well, that’s still TBD, but considering it’s a true crime reporting team for a doorbell with a mission to fight crime, it seems likely that they will be collecting stories of crime, perhaps door-related crimes, and packaging them nicely and putting them out to foment fear on the internet or perhaps Ring’s Neighbors app. Your neighbors and their doorbell surveillance systems will probably be providing the content for the site. (Why can’t they just sponsor a true crime podcast like everyone else?)

While crime is generally declining, the love of crime, true crime, true crime podcasts, true crime made-for-TV movies, and true crime Netflix series reveals that the world’s hunger for crime stories continues unabated. So it makes sense that Ring would try and get in on the action. Perhaps spurred on by true crime stories, as well as apps like Neighbors and site’s like NextDoor, which point to suspicious Greenpeace canvassers and scream “stranger danger!” the world seems like a dark, scary, and crime-ridden place, even though crime rates have fallen significantly in the past 25 years.

As Nieman Lab notes, people’s perception is that crime is rising even when it’s not. A 2016 Pew survey found that only 15% of Americans believed (correctly) that crime was lower in 2016 than it had been in 2008, versus 57% who thought it had gotten worse. True crime stories and apps that turn every person on the street into a potential threat undoubtedly add to the problem.

That said, the more petrified the world is, the more likely you are to buy a crime-fighting doorbell, right?

Update: A Ring spokesperson reached out to clarify that the job posting is for an existing position on the Neighbors team, specifically as part of the news team in the Neighbors app that works to “evaluate crime and safety information” from “risk reporting agencies, certified social media accounts, public safety systems, and many other sources to identify incidents in real time.”

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