A rather large story in Greensboro has been broken by a blogger that, last I knew, lives in Winston-Salem. Ben Holder, aka The Troublemaker, broke the story on his blog that former Greensboro police chief David Wray has filed suit against Greensboro and its City Manager Mitchell Johnson. The lawsuit is just the latest in an ongoing and complicated saga regarding Wray's termination that has come to be known as The Wray Fray, which is why it's surprising that the Greensboro News & Record was beat to the punch on a "courthouse story" that is of great interest to their readership. This is the kind of meat and potatoes story that newspapers have lived on for generations so I'm sure that they're none too happy that they were beat to the punch by a blogger who regularly ridicules them.
The Wray story threatens to become even bigger because one of the allegations in the suit is that Wray's civil rights were violated and he was discriminated against due to his race; he's white as is city manager Mitchell Johnson. Given Greensboro's history of racially charged politics the fact that a white former police chief who was embroiled in his own racially charged controversy is suing over civil rights violations should really take this story to the next level of interest. Of course that makes the newspaper being beat to the punch even worse.
To be fair none of the local television news operations have carried the story yet either, at least that I've seen. I'm writing this at 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, January 3, 2009. If you look at the copy of the lawsuit that is posted at The Troublemaker the suit was filed at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 2, 2009. Given that Holder was able to post this some time on the evening of the 2nd it's amazing to me that none of the news sites even have this on their website yet. Honestly this is a story tailor made for news operations and you'd think they'd be all over this. It has everything a news operation is looking for: controversy, politics and race just to name three. The only thing better would be if it involved a missing baby with a distraught blond mother.
Update: Just re-checked the N&R site at 5:30 and they have a placeholder story up and promise more in the Sunday paper. Obviously they have plenty of time to do a lot with the story, but getting scooped for 24 hours on a story like this still isn't good.
Hat tip to Ed Cone for the lead.