In the halcyon days when American newspapers were feared rather than pitied, I had the pleasure of reporting on crime in the prodigiously criminal environs of Baltimore. The city was a wonderland of chaos, dirt and miscalculation, and loyal adversaries were many. Among them, I could count police commanders who felt it was their duty to demonstrate that crime never occurred in their precincts, desk sergeants who believed that they had a right to arrest and detain citizens without reporting it and, of course, homicide detectives and patrolmen who, when it suited them, argued convincingly that to provide the basic details of any incident might lead to the escape of some heinous felon. Everyone had very good reasons for why nearly every fact about a crime should go unreported.
Friday, March 06, 2009
David Simon, reporter
I was/am a huge fan of The Wire, but that newspaper story in the fifth season was a little bit too angry and not specific enough about the effect of failing newspapers on an American city. Wire creator David Simon recently put his old reportorial skills to work on a police shooting in Baltimore, and the result is a much more succinct description of why we need well-staffed daily papers. (Wash. Post/Kottke)