Leave it to the Arizona Republic to take a fairly interesting story, take its coverage way too far, and, in turn, bore us to death.
A story about a violent fugitive shooting it out with police at a crowded mall before taking hostages at a nearby restaurant is always interesting. A story about how mall managers used Facebook to communicate during the ordeal is never interesting -- yet, that's the route the Arizona Republic has gone in trying to suck as much life out of the story of Wednesday's Chandler mall shooting as journalistically possible.
Granted, today is a relatively slow news day (no county supervisor's wife's been arrested for molesting the same child with whom her daughter is accused of messing around, that is) but a story about how mall managers communicated via-Facebook was the lead story on azcentral.com for much of the day (see below).
Here's a taste:
During Wednesday's evacuation and lockdown of Chandler Fashion Center while a gunman was loose, mall managers communicated with its more than 300 retailers through the mall's Facebook page.
"For the first time, we took advantage of our Facebook site, and we were able to communicate to our merchants," said Christina Lanoue, the mall's senior property manager.
"It's a new tool in the industry, and it certainly did help us communicate to the merchants when they were able to come back in the mall."
It added efficiency as well, saving mall managers from being inundated with phone calls and relaying the same information repeatedly.
"When a merchant called, we told them any information they need, go to the website," she said. "We could quickly update it."
The story's not completely useless -- we would just argue that it's not lead-story material for the state's largest member of the fourth estate.
It seems the paper is trying to provide an excess of mundane details about the incident so readers will forget how badly its initial coverage of the shootout was blown (while every other news outlet in town was saying there was a good chance the suspect involved was accidentally released inmate Daniel Perez, the Republic was the only paper that claimed the suspect in the shootout had been confirmed to be Perez, which was false. The suspect turned out to be Adam Hernandez, not Perez.).
As Chandler Detective David Ramer told New Times at the time, he had no idea where the Republic got that information.
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Click here for more on that (ahem) little mixup.
We promise our loyal readers that you will never find some bromidic anecdote from an otherwise interesting story as the lead article on the New Times website.
Meanwhile, we hear the Orange Julius guy at Chandler Fashion Center used his iPhone to program his Tivo so he could record an episode of Jersey Shore as the mall was being locked down (Randy Lovely, if you're reading this, this may be your chance to finally yell "stop the presses").