Three Dead in St. Paul Shooting
Three people were killed in their St. Paul home on Friday, and police suspect that the attack was not random. Maria Mclay, 32, was found alive upon police arrival, but died shortly after when she was taken to Regions Hospital. Mclay's fiance Otahl "T.C" Webb, 31, and daughter Brittany Mclay were found dead at the scene.
The MPR article does a great job being short and to the point. Every comment and quote is attributed so as to avoid any liability. Everything is current and the only insight they have as to where things will go from here is at the end where they note that the are searching the area for witnesses.
Star Tribune took a different approach to the story, which, to me, seemed to make the story almost completely unnecessary. Tom Ford and James Walsh of the Star Tribune talk more about the events to come in relation to the investigation, which would not be a bad idea, if it weren't for the fact that there are no events to come. They say things like "Still unsure of basic details such as how many suspects were involved in Friday's triple killing or how they fled the St. Paul home" and quote someone as saying "'It's so early, we're going in a hundred different directions trying to figure out which one looks promising'", which both seem to be statements that add little to no newsworthiness. You could expect readers to assume that if nothing has been updated on the news about the case, then nothing new has been found--why would you need a whole article that basically says "sorry folks, we still have nothing"? They even start talking about things that go into a murder investigation--"Checking any doorknob or overturned piece of furniture in the home for fingerprints. Seeing whether any nearby business or traffic cameras captured an image of the suspects. Asking their law enforcement partners to stay tuned to any rumor or tip floating about"--as if that was not standard procedure.
I do not see any news value in the story that was written for the Star Tribune. I think a follow up would be suitable if new information was gathered, but since there was none, what is the point? The Star Tribune also publishes a quote summary from the police chief that says "What led to the shootings is unknown, but Harrington said he would be surprised if drugs were not part of the motive." Okay maybe Ford and Walsh thought this was a good quote, and maybe the police chief is onto something, but what if drugs had nothing to do with the murders? Someone could get in trouble for suggesting the possibility. Though they do mention that police declined any mentioning of whether or not the victims had a background involving drugs or drug money. Still, I think it was risky to even mention it without any real verifyable lead.
Though the two articles have a slightly different take on the story, I think MPR does a better job at sticking to what is known, what is current, and what makes the story newsworthy.