In my opinion as a journalist, there are at least three things that are possible solutions to fixing the “Why Did the Police Kill My Daddy” story by Matthew Jensen.
First, I think that there should have been more context about the actual happening. Assuming that everyone reading the story had been following it earlier was a mistake. Without the context of why Mr. Lamb was caught in his own backyard with the SWAT team cornering him leaves readers very confused and questioning. A story shouldn’t leave readers with questions about the facts. Details such as these also help a reader draw their own conclusions about ethics matters. While it might seem repetitive to the writer of the story, a recount of the story with the essential facts would have really increased the quality of the story.
Second, I know that Mr. Jensen should have had more than one source. He could have consulted the actual Medical Examiner to dispel any myths about where and how many times the victim was shot. He could have consulted the police for their opinion on their actions as well as for the actual investigative report. Also, other family members and friends, though a sensitive time, could have been consulted to increase the reader’s understanding and the writer’s credibility of a tender issue. By only using the father of the victim, the writer, the paper, the story and source all lose credibility. By using the other sources throughout the story, the writer could have done a comparison of fact vs. opinion to paint a more accurate picture and reveal if there were any ethics issues in the actions taken. I think the reader is confused after the story about if the actions of the SWAT team were valid or not because of how the father describes it and the lack of police sources in the story.
Third, I think that by doing the two things above, the writer could have chosen a more definite angle. It seems this is what he was lacking. He should have decided if there were ethical decisions at hand, and made the story about that. If he felt they were not ethical questions so much, he could still include all the information pertaining to this so there weren’t questions by readers, but make it more about a feature-memorial type piece about Mr. Greg Lamb. This is where the website would come in because the website is mostly a memorial, rather than a poke at the police it seems. He could have interviewed more family and friends and got personal stories, good memories and quotes about Mr. Lamb. Doing this will not leave the reader so dang confused. As for the title, well he should have either explained the quote more in the story or left it out. But what do I know? I am just a college wannabe.