Repost: The importance of real journalism

I normally don’t repost but this is a great article by one of the creators of The Wire, reposted from will hines:

A depressing story from The Wire’s David Simon about how the destruction of newspapers might mean public officials get off the hook. He used to be a police reporter for The Baltimore Sun and a few weeks ago, he was so incensed about the lack of coverage of police shooting a civilian that he covered the story himself!

The most interesting part to me was his story of how when he was a reporter he used a friendship with a judge to strong-arm police representatives into giving him access to police reports — something that the law requires them to do! But when Simon reported, he needed a judge to do it. What if there’s no judge? What if the reporter isn’t around long enough to know the judge?

In the last season of The Wire, the Baltimore Sun is laying off the older reporters. And when a big story breaks, it’s one of the older reporters who has sources inside the police department. Relationships are the oil that help institutional processes run smoothly. Simon uses a phrase “institutional memory” at the end of the article, and it’s one that I like. “

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