Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dean Smith's memory fading, Fayetteville Observer reports

The most poignant article of the weekend came from Dan Wiederer of the Fayetteville Observer, who wrote about the decline in health of former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.

Smith’s fantastic memory is fading, and Wiederer quotes Woody Durham as saying, "That's really the painful thing to absorb when you're around him."

This is a terrific bit of reporting, and you have to give Wiederer credit for digging into a story everyone in the media knew but didn’t want to tell. One of the signs of a mediocre reporter is they don’t share what they know with their audience, either because the information is highly sensitive or because they fear alienating a sports information director who might threaten to cut off access.

Wiederer, as you can tell by his thoughtful and persistent questions in news conferences, isn't afraid of more difficult assignments. And he handled the Smith story with grace and professionalism, which is difficult when the subject matter is so delicate.

What he wrote isn’t new to people in the area news media, but it is new to many in the broader audience, and those are exactly the people reporters are intended to serve.

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