Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
By the end of last week, several people I know who had been following the week’s tragic events in Boston told me the same thing:
“I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
That sentiment came to these people — and many others, it would seem, judging by Twitter and the blogs — after a week of being burned by speculation and incorrect reporting by the news media. From my vantage point, this week seemed like a tipping point for major story coverage; more often than not, by week’s end people would only believe what authorities and officials told them. FBI press conferences became the first official reports to be accepted and widely spread, as opposed to leaks of those press conferences.
For the most part, those who discuss journalism marked the week’s reporting as a low point for journalism. I will offer, in this space, three examples of strong reporting during the chaotic week:
The Saudi marathon man (4/17/13, The New Yorker): Amy Davidson chronicles the story of a Saudi Arabian who was incorrectly targeted as a person of interest in the bombing of the Boston Marathon. In doing so, she offers a poignant look at how one life was affected by the targeting of police and the massive coverage of media. Davidson leaves us with more questions than answers, such as this one at the article’s end:
And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help. We get so close to all that Obama described. What’s missing? Is it humility?