Here is the very top of The State‘s browser edition today:
If you scroll down, here’s what you see on the second screen:
Not too surprising, I guess. But then you scroll down to the third screen:
Yeah, I think y’all have that covered. Whoa! Y’all have got me scared to look at the other papers I subscribe to now…
Why aren’t they looking for the REAL killers?
By the way, I’m not criticizing. I was just taken aback a bit by the sheer SCALE of it.
But I know that while I’m not interested, and got worn out on the story long ago, other people I know and respect are deeply involved, and fascinated.
For instance, there’s my old friend and colleague John Monk (the first person mentioned in that description of “the team,” who used to be on MY team in editorial. He’s proud of the hard work he does on this story, and he should be, but the interest out there is huge.
My mom follows it pretty closely, and was just talking to me about it last night.
One of our regular blog readers mentioned to me today via another medium that he has “bought a targeted mini-subscription to the P&C for their Murdaugh coverage.”
I’ve told you about how my own old-fashioned notions about how to play news was formed when I was the news editor in Wichita. Well, I hired a copyeditor out there back in 1985, named Alice Sky. She is now in KC working as a senior news analytics specialist at McClatchy. I take it that part of her job is being aware of the big stories in all McClatchy markets. And she told me awhile back she’s following this one closely and avidly. I see that she retweeted a story from The State about it just yesterday.
So if you’re fascinated by Murdaugh, you have lots of good company. So don’t pay attention to me on this…
Speaking of Wichita, I was reminded of it by that “Meet the Team” blurb.
The Wichita paper used to do that, every year, for the state fair, of all things.
There were two huge stories in Kansas, every year. One was the wheat harvest, which came sweeping down from the Dakotas through Nebraska, then through Kansas, and then on down through Oklahoma and to Texas. Wichita wasn’t just a wheat town — we had the general aviation industry and oil and other things. But it was huge.
And because agriculture was so big there (not just wheat, but more beef than in Texas), so was the state fair — even though it was an hour or so away from us, in Hutchinson. Every year, the paper would send a sizable team of reporters and photogs up there, and they STAYED until the fair was over. They had a mobile home they used as their HQ. It was really something…
One more thing, and I’ll move on.
I would have been more interested in Murdaugh back when I was a young reporter in the late 70s. It reminds me of a case I covered in 1978. I was part of a mob from across Tennessee and the nation that descended on a small town to camp in our cars outside of the home of wealthy family whose daughter had been kidnapped. So yeah, we were pretty awful. But we were excited about the big story, and about competing with each other over it.
And while it was a hellish nightmare for the girl, to us it was a story with a “happy ending,” since she got back home alive, and the kidnappers were all caught.
After the initial excitement ending with her escape from the captors, other reporters went home, but I stayed on the story, developing sources like mad (the defense attorney, and the special prosecutors the girl’s family hired, were some of the best sources I ever had — helping me on this and other stories) and putting scoops on the scoreboard, such as the one about the kidnappers nearly escaping from the county jail.
My biggest was when I reported the plea deal that sent the culprits to prison — the wire services had to use my story for that, and I had the pleasure of seeing it lead the old afternoon paper in Memphis, the Press-Scimitar. I then wrote an exclusive interview with the victim at her home.
So no, I don’t have room to criticize anyone for getting excited about covering a big crime story about other people’s misery. I’ve had my own “His Girl Friday” moments, which is one of the reasons why I love the movie so much…
“While all eyes were on Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial today, the judge in the Mallory Beach boat crash death lawsuit approved a settlement agreement between the Beach family, 3 other crash victims, Buster Murdaugh and the estate of Maggie Murdaugh.”
I grew up in Bamberg, so this is interesting to me. Bamberg County shares a small corner border with Hampton County.
We let our subscription to The State expire after it was no longer a daily paper. I subscribed to the Post and Courier “Murdaugh Coverage” (not the full newspaper) and to FITSnews. I’ll keep FITSnews.
If Murdaugh is sentenced to the max for his financial crimes, his sentence would be greater than his remaining expected lifespan (over 900 years).
Brad, one of your former colleagues is now at the P&C, Cindi Scoppe.
Well, not just her. I have two former editorial board members with the P&C — Cindi and Mike Fitts. I communicate with them fairly regularly. The only one of the old gang still at The State is John Monk, and he’s the main guy covering Murdaugh for them.
Of course, Cindi and Mike are both still here in Columbia. The P&C has about as many journalists in Columbia as The State these days. Maybe not quite, but close to it, it seems — especially if you include the Free Times people…
Yea, but the Free Times needs to change its name to Not Free Any More Times. It has a paywall.
Oh, yea. I’m that guy.