Friday, August 01, 2008

Congratulations to the Times Picayune.

In New Orleans, A Riveting Murder Series (And Not Chandra Levy)
This op-ed by Mark Fitzgerals compares the Picaune's crime series with the Washington Post's series on the murder of Chandra Levy.

The Post takes on an old and singular case with an atypical victim of D.C. street crime.

Homicide 37, on the other hand, is about a young black youth all too typical of those dying violently right now in New Orleans. And its story is emblematic of all that besets a city that's rebounding in restaurants and restorations -- but struggling to contain a crime wave with overworked cops, scared-to-death witnesses, and so few resources that the New Orleans Police Department doesn't even have its own machine to make photo lineups.

But the most striking contrast is in the storytelling and packaging.

The Post follows the usual newspaper playbook for an Important Story -- go long. The series kicks off with 1,700 words, and by the tenth chapter, with two to go, the article still crams in 1,600 words.

But the Times-Pic took a different strategy with the story by McCarthy.

Installments run to about 700 words, and McCarthy has the page-turning writing style of a latter-day Raymond Chandler.

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