I have taken a call and received an e-mail on the story we wrote on the fatal wreck on U.S. 74 yesterday. Both the caller and writer used the word "cold" to describe our story, which is not a complaint I'm used to hearing.
No matter how you slice it, the wreck was tragic. A woman died and two teenagers were involved along with three other cars and people. It's not clear whether the wreck was simply weather-related or someone was to blame. Either way, it will remain a tragedy.
Anyway, the caller who was upset said she felt the breakout box describing who was involved in the wreck and the cutline which described the picture should have been left out. I'm not sure how to respond to either. They were both basic information about the story to help readers understand who was involved. The writer said the story was insensitive to the family of the victim. I'm really struggling to figure out how that was the case.
Regarding the picture, we chose it very carefully. While TV ran pictures of the victim's car with a sheet over it, we chose a much milder picture, not even of the victim's car.
Our story was "by the book," which is how readers often complain that we SHOULD write stories, rather than making them overly flowery or sensational.
All of this is to say: Can you help me understand why people are upset with this story? My only real thought is that it's so tragic on so many levels that we are simply the recipient of misplaced anger and sadness. I can handle that. But if you know of or see ways we could have presented the story better, I'm very much interested in that feedback.