chapter  3
12 Pages

The Reporter I: Cops, Killers and Crispy Critters

WithDavid Simon

Detectives tell the world's best war stories", wrote Edna Buchanan, the Miami Herald's Pulitzer Prize-winning police reporter in her review of the book. Nothing reads worse than narrative written by a reporter who doesn't have the background, or the talent, or enough knowledge of his subjects. A reporter sits down and recounts an act of violence in the same time-honored formula—lead, nut graph, best quote, and so forth—something almost as dehumanizing as the crime itself has occurred. Having lost his art, the storyteller is reduced to the mere transmission of facts, and the cost to the reporter, to the news report and to society itself is certain. A year out of journalism schools, the freshman class is taught accuracy and objectivity and a straight news or news-feature style of writing. By the time they're in a position to do anything particularly creative with their subject matter, those who began their careers covering cops have been elevated to more dignified beats.