Pick of the Day: Reporting a snowball fight
Today's Pick Story of the Day is a testament to reporting, about as basic and straightforward a story as can be imagined, yet one that performs the ultimate public service. It's a simple narrative built from classic reporting. The Post's Matt Zapotosky was assigned to figure out just what happened Saturday, when, during the biggest snowstorm ever to hit Washington in a December, people spontaneously gathered at a major intersection to have a friendly snowball fight, only to find some lunatic--in this case, a D.C. police detective--waving a gun at them and threatening to turn the whole wonderful scene into a horror show.
Many readers will have already read sketchy summaries and eyewitness accounts of this incident at 14th and U streets NW on the blogs, or seen various versions of the stunning video on YouTube. But Zapotosky, in clear, unemotional prose, goes out and finds the puzzle pieces and puts them together, so we learn that the snowball fight wasn't quite as spontaneous as it had first appeared, but rather was another little triumph of social media organizing. There are still a few missing pieces--we need to know at some point exactly who this detective is and what his record is and what was in his head as he scared the bejesus out of a big crowd of the people he's supposed to be protecting. But as a first draft of what happened, this is a story that adds value through reporting, and that's what it's all about.
| December 21, 2009; 8:34 AM ET
Categories: Story Picks
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