Working for the news department of a local radio station, I’ve been paying close attention since Saturday night to the incident in which a paroled armed robber shot and killed four police officers. One observation, in the age of disappearing media sources and shrinking newsrooms: lots of good coverage from the journalism dinosaurs, little or none from our next-generation darlings, the blogs. The former have been swarming the story; the latter offer rehashes of what the dinosaurs report. Not to say that new-type media have not been useful: the Twitter stream on Oakland has been a good source for both news links and to sometimes disturbing online reactions (“disturbiing” defined: rationalizations/justifications for the killing of the police officers; more on that later). If one is looking for an object lesson in what news organizations do well that independents and bloggers do not do well–yet, anyway–the reporting in this case over the last several days is a decent example. Below are some notable examples of local coverage from the last day. I’m starting with a story that we at KQED produced yesterday evening. Reporter/anchor Cy Musiker, who began hustling after the story as soon as he heard about it Saturday afternoon, did a great job at capturing the city’s mood. The rest of the links are to stories that appeared sometime Monday.
KQED Radio News: Oakland Mourns Police Officers
Cy’s Monday evening report.
San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland Killer Was Linked to Rape
Chronicle reports, and OPD confirms, that on Friday (day before shootings) the OPD had learned of a DNA match linking Mixon to a rape earlier this year. OPD reportedly investigating link between Mixon and second rape, too. The Chron did a good job with court records and turned up details of the crime (attempted carjacking) that sent Mixon to prison. Good details on his background as known at the time of his trial and conviction. The story also expands on earlier reports that Mixon was suspected of an earlier murder.
Los Angeles Times: Lovelle Mixon’s parole record
Very detailed chronology of Mixon’s contacts with parole officer.
Los Angeles Times (blog post): Slaying of four Oakland officers raises concerns about parole system
“Concerns” is putting it mildly.
San Francisco Chronicle: Gunman had spent years in and out of prison
Contains a few more biographical details for Mixon.
Oakland Tribune: Parolee stood over wounded police officers and fired again
More details on shooting, per OPD sources. Mixon is said to have disabled both motorcycle officers, then fired again at close range to finish them off. Also, the story names the type of rifle Mixon is supposed to have used in his shootout with SWAT officers, an SKS (Soviet origin; see: http://www.sks-rifles.com/ or http://www.hk94.com/sks-rifle.php and prepare to be charmed).
San Francisco Chronicle: Woman says she pointed police to Oakland killer
Anonymous first-person account from woman who says she hesitated before telling an officer where suspect was hiding. Also note the Monday details of neighbors prying plywood from apartment door to inspect shootout scene.
A little more detail from family on Mixon’s background, and other reaction across the city. Interesting detail from one resident of shootout neighborhood: “One woman, hosing down her driveway two doors down from the apartment where Mixon was killed, said some of those lives could have been saved. She said neighbors knew immediately where Mixon had run, but they didn’t tell police — who combed the neighborhood — until nearly an hour later. But in East Oakland, lamented the woman, Elaine, who didn’t give her last name, that cooperation doesn’t easily happen. “It makes you feel bad. But you just don’t want to be a snitch. The word, ‘snitch,’ it’s almost worse than murderer.”
Oakland Tribune: Street shrines for slain officers draw crowds, debate
A pretty good writeup on the range of emotions expressed in Oakland on Monday–especially at the scene of the shootings.