Better stories out there? Perhaps. More entertaining? Sure. But when it comes to identifying a problem, digging into the data and putting it out there for an audience to understand, this piece by a team of reporters and designers at the New York Times is, without question, the best thing I've read this week.
Damn, I love it when journalism does exactly this.
We've heard stories of airplanes nearly crashing on runways. If you watch the evening news on TV, you've probably heard some dramatic audio clips of air-traffic controllers and pilots freaking out over oncoming planes. But we haven't gotten to the "how often, or the "why" and "how."
And, why haven't we gotten those answers? Well, the honest answer is that it is HARD to get at those answers.
How hard you may wonder?
Read the article! It says the Times' team analyzed "internal FAA records, as well as thousands of pages of federal safety reports and interviews with more than 50 current and former pilots, air traffic controllers and federal officials."
That is a lot of work.
And it's worth reading it -- to learn why, to understand how to fix it and, geez, how about just to give these journalists the pat on the back?
On Monday, The Washington Post launched a series about the AR-15.
Some of the work -- namely a 3-D graphic portrayal of what .223-caliber bullets in the AR-15 do to the human body -- is absolutely chilling. (That ending!)
But the work is also balanced, informative, fair, memorable and ridiculously thorough.
Fourteen reporters, six videographers and designers, 19 editors of all kinds and 20 additional journalists poured their hearts and souls into the project, which comprises 11 separate pieces. And, it shows. It is simply fantastic.
This is a long article and it is behind a paywall, though you can get a month long free trial. And, I strongly recommend you do because this piece by Megan Garber of The Atlantic is fantastic.
It took me back to grad school when I studied media theory. It made me think of all the times I've suggested -- privately or publicly -- that we live in a society consumed by the need to be entertained. It made ponder the idea that even tragic things like videos of Black men being beaten to death by police officers, or stories of murder are turned into entertainment.
It makes me think of journalism, and democracy, and high art, and the political environment, and social media and the public sphere. And, if we aren't thinking about these things, what are we doing?
This is the best thing I've read this week.
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Media, Fandom, and Soccer's Biggest Stage is available online and in hardback from Palgrave Macmillan.
Molly Yanity, Ph.D.