Pressing the police, policing the press started out as a simple blog post about David Simon’s critique of the declining state of hard-news reporting at his old Baltimore Sun.
Then the coincidences started rolling in, with almost all roads leading to Baltimore:
- Stories from reporters in London and Baltimore who decided to compare their police beats.
- A new Project for Excellence in Journalism content-analysis study, “How News Happens,” that concludes that, dimming or not, the Sun is still the center of the city’s news solar system.
Despite my headline, the “police” theme slipped away, but by the end I’d added a bunch of background links about The Wire and Simon’s work at the Sun, plus a bonus audio-only version of a half-century old story about a newspaper living up to its founder’s ideals on the eve of its closing.
If anyone has time at the start of a new semester to take a look, I think you’ll find some interesting material.
At least all the Baltimore references didn’t lead me off searching for Mencken links until just now, for a couple of 96-year-old closing quotes (incidentally, both are from the same article).
On the one hand…
“I know of no subject, save perhaps baseball, on which the average American newspaper, even in the larger cities, discourses with unfailing sense and understanding.”
On the other hand…
“The newspapers discharged broadsides of 12-inch guns to bring down a flock of buzzards — but they brought down the buzzards. They have libeled and lynched the police—but the police are the better for it…”