August 8, 2011

Women’s Wear Daily
Paul Farhi created some controversy last week when he pointed out that Nicholas Schmidle wasn’t able to interview any of the 23 Navy SEALs involved in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout for his “Getting Bin Laden” story in the New Yorker. “Instead, he said, he relied on the accounts of others who had debriefed the men,” wrote Farhi. “But a casual reader of the article wouldn’t know that.” Zeke Turner reports some bloggers now claim the piece is too detailed to be accurate — something that journalist Andrew Rice rejects. “As someone who occasionally does narrative journalism, and knows exactly how hard it is to weave together an account like this, I’m pretty offended,” he says. Turner writes:

It is a reasonable question why the story doesn’t mention explicitly that no SEALs were interviewed. “You have to follow some kind of rules for your readers so your readers can make judgments about the credibility and the authority of what you’re writing about,” said one investigative reporter, who requested anonymity. “This was beyond fuzzy.”

> Watch Schmidle discuss the piece on last Thursday’s “Charlie Rose”

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From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August…
Jim Romenesko

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