by C.L. Phillips
Question : Do you believe what you read in the paper?
I've been thinking about this question for some time. A dear friend said, "When I was twelve years old, my cousin was shot and killed. The only thing the paper got right in the story was his name and age." She never believes anything she reads in the press.
Having no experience with newspapers, I wonder what experiences you've had. When reading the news, either in the paper or on the internet, or listen to a television or radio broadcast, how much of what we read is speculative fiction?
The first time I followed a big trial, it was the O.J. Simpson trial. I loved Dominick Dunne's stories in Vanity Fair magazine. Between he and Jeffrey Toobin, I realized every writer selects a different point of view and set of information filters when telling the story, no matter how honorable their intentions and professionalism.
So what do you believe when you read about a crime, or a kidnapping, or a big murder case?
Is there anyone you trust to give you the story a la Joe Friday of Dragnet, with "just the facts"?
Any advice on how to separate the story from the facts when reading old newspaper accounts and doing historical research for your own writing?