Hunting a serial killer – and front-page story
WHEN you read an interesting newspaper article, do you give a thought to who wrote it, or what it took to gather the information? If your penchant is to follow crime stories, the name Janine Lazarus may be familiar to you.
Janine made her name as one of this country’s finest true-crime investigative journalists back in the early 1990s, working for The Star, Saturday Star and Sunday Star.
In her book, Bait – To catch a killer, she takes the reader on the reporting beat with her and in one particular case, that of the Norwood Serial Killer in Johannesburg, and shows the extraordinary and brave lengths she went to to get the story.
“During the early 1990s the crime-reporting beat was not regarded with the same esteem that political journalism attracted.
“It was deemed just a few notches above the bum end of the news hierarchy.”
Lazarus’s harrowing years covering crime began to take an emotional toll and led to her putting down her journalistic pen forever.
Bait provides detail and insight into the world of serial killers, and Kobus Geldenhuys, the Norwood killer, in particular.
This is not a Hollywood gloss version of that world and Lazarus was far from the big-screen image of a crime journalist.
The vivid depiction of the newsroom of the 1990s and that era’s personalities, and Lazarus’s not-afraid-toget-her-hands-dirty approach are Bait’s powerful core.
Reading about the price Lazarus paid for those crime journalist years is moving and distressing.
It should hopefully bring readers’ awareness of who writes what they read into sensitive focus.
Bait is powerful stuff and must have been challenging for Lazarus to write.
I am glad she did.