creative non-fiction/ journalism

The news is so fraught with bad news and sensationalism that sometimes I forget that there is another side to news journalism. A wander through the Pulitzer Prize website will make that clear — and give you many hours of good things to read. All the winning entries from the last five years or so are available online, for example: the 2006 Pulitzer prize for investigative reporting went to three journalists at the Washington Post for their expose and pursuit of the Abramoff scandal. All the articles in the series are there.

I am thinking about this because I read a story in the LA Times today. It’s well written and very engaging, about a grizzly bear attacking father and daughter who were hiking in Glacier National Park.

What worries me is that this crosses the sensationalism line. The first hint: this happened in 2005. Why the big, two part story with photos and video now? It seems as though the journalist was true to the facts, but the tone is definitely ramped up. Also, the article doesn’t make it clear if either father or daughter survived until the very end. That’s good storytelling, of course. But is it good journalism?

I’m not sure. Thoughts?