Media Mayhem gets a taste of true crime reportage with George Jared. We talk about his no-holds barred coverage of the West Memphis Three, and address some of the journalistic pitfalls that threaten to take the teeth out of reporting disturbing cases.
George is a natural storyteller and he delivers the hard facts regarding horrifying crimes, along with taking great pains to understand the line between sensationalism and enthralling writing.
George Jared is a true crime reporter for Arkansas’ Jonesboro Sun. A graduate of Lyon College, Jared started his journalism career in 2004. Throughout his career he has covered a number of high profile murder cases including the West Memphis 3, the Green capital murder trials and other heinous crimes. In 2010 he wrote a series of comprehensive stories after interviewing Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis 3. He has also covered politics including stories of former President Clinton.
George has won two first place awards from the Associated Press for investigative, news and feature writing.
00:01 Media Mayhem opening.
03:20 How George got involved with the West Memphis Three case.
04:30 Initial responses and reactions to the accused.
08:16 The reader’s reaction to graphic language in the newspaper.
09:48 When the case started to turn for George.
14:22 Broaching the subject of possible innocence with the readership and community.
17:34 Interviewing Damien Echols on death row.
20:20 Getting the convicted to open up.
22:48 Sitting with a possible killer.
24:10 Detailing the horrific true crime
27:57 An attorney with himself as a client–“an incredible risk.”
29:25 Learning to live with the horrors of true crime.
30:26 Where the West Memphis Three stand now and the Hollywood effect on the case.
31:36 The flip side to DNA testing of evidence.
33:48 The Mayhem Round–Salacious Headlines and getting readers.
38:10 “Does sensational writing help you as a writer?”
40:00 Dealing with fallout from families of story subjects.
41:52 Defining a “Hero,” as opposed to writing about one.
45:30 Are journalists required to use a certain type of speech?
47:21 Thanks and Goodbye!