Media class focuses on reporting crime stories

Washburn adjunct professor and journalist Tim Hrenchir with Melissa Brunner, an accomplished journalist and news anchor at WIBW. Brunner was just one of the many guest speakers Hrenchir’s class had this semester.

Tim Hrenchir is an adjunct professor of a course at Washburn called Murder, Mayhem & Media: Telling crime stories. It is a class geared toward journalists who eventually intend to work closely with police officers, politicians and criminals to inform the public through their writing. The criteria for the course includes practice writing news articles, learning good journalism techniques, performing interviews and participating in mock press releases.

“I enjoy all things related to ‘Law and Order’ and this class is perfect,” said Carly Willis, junior mass media major. 

Willis says Hrenchir is an effective teacher of the course and makes class enjoyable. He brings in different speakers, which allows the students to hear about real-life professions related to crime. 

Hrenchir earned his master’s in journalism from the University of Kansas in 2004 where he graduated with a 4.0 GPA. His interest in journalism stemmed from a traumatic experience in his youth. When he was 10 years old, Hrenchir’s neighbor, an elderly woman named Rosemary Ronnau, was brutally murdered.  

“I got fascinated with crime at that point,” said Hrenchir. “And when I was 16,  I applied at the Capital-Journal where I basically started from the bottom and eventually worked my way up to being a full-fledged reporter.” 

Even now, Hrenchir continues to write crime articles at the Captial-Journal. This is his first semester teaching at Washburn, but according to the journalist, it will not be his last.

“I’ve loved my time at this school,” said Hrenchir. “The students have been exceeding my expectations. I ask them, for example, to do current events presentations and they are actually talking to the people involved with the events. There was a murder in Wichita not too long ago, and the students doing the report on that actually talked to the reporters who covered it, the relatives and even the former professor of the victim.”

Throughout the course Hrenchir has stressed the importance of getting the facts right when it comes to crime reporting.

 “I see enthusiasm, I see the students doing a good job and I like it.”

As for reporting crime, Hrenchir says there are many benefits to the job.

“There’s never a dull moment,” said Hrenchir. “You get to meet famous people, help catch criminals and ultimately help make the world a better place. I’ve lived a very fulfilled life as a crime journalist.”