Wick Communications

Reporting in the aftermath

In journalism on 14 Feb 2013 at 2:27 pm


I was impressed last week with the work of the Dothan Eagle. While the rest of the world had moved from Lower Alabama (and the kidnapper who buried a kid in a bunker) to Los Angeles (and the manhunt for a deranged cop killer) the people of Dothan were well served by their local newspaper.

The Eagle had several stories following up on the kidnapping of young Ethan Gilman. The newspaper had an interview with his big brother, an explanation of the military tactics that helped rescue the boy, a gruesome brief on the fact that the kidnapper’s body was being removed from the scene, a box telling locals how to help, the story of the hero bus driver’s funeral and on and on.

And that wasn’t the only big story the newspaper had on its hands. A high school sophomore mysteriously died on the basketball court and a child predator was arrested for rape.

Events like the abduction of the boy near Dothan are just plain exhausting – for law enforcement, reporters, editors and the rest of the community. Tempers can flare. When it’s all over, there is a tendency to relax, to call it all over. …

But it’s not over. The biggest story of the year offers many other angles to explore.

It appears the journalists at the Dothan Eagle huddled up and brainstormed the stories left to tell and they stayed relentless in the pursuit of details that I’m sure are riveting to the people of the other L.A. It’s an object lesson for all of us.



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