How The Washington Post and Buffalo News competed for same Ray Lewis story

Both The Washington Post's Kent Babb and The Buffalo News' Tim Graham interviewed Priscilla Lollar, whose son Richard Lollar was murdered in an incident involving Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Deadspin's Barry Petchesky tells how the competing reporters found themselves at the same graveyard.

Both reporters arrived in Akron on Wednesday—Graham with a Buffalo News photographer, and Babb with a local freelance photographer. Graham had told Lollar he would pick her up at 2 p.m., but the Buffalo News team decided to scout out the cemetery first.

Because of the weather, Graham and the photographer found themselves running late. They didn't get to the right cemetery until 2:10 p.m., and the photographer began snapping photos while they were there. In the middle of that, a car pulled up: Babb was driving, with Priscilla Lollar in the passenger seat.

Graham was "stunned," he told me. Babb, seeing an SUV with New York plates parked in the otherwise empty lot, kept on driving. "We parked about 200 yards away and waited." The Buffalo News team stood at the grave for a few minutes, then gave up; as Graham put it, he didn't want to "play chicken."

So while Babb was escorting Priscilla Lollar to her dramatic first visit to her son's grave, Graham and the photographer went to the Lollar house to interview other family members. About 15 minutes after they got there, Babb pulled up with Priscilla Lollar, and the two reporters introduced themselves to each other.

"It was a little awkward," Babb said. "I'm not sure either of us knew what the protocol is in that situation. We joked about it being like a press conference."

Related: Journalists cover the stuffing out of the Puppy Bowl: "When reporters from the New Yorker, 'NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,' 'Good Morning America,' the Associated Press and, yes, The Washington Post have all convened upon one event, it must be important." (The Washington Post)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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