Daily Archives: May 13, 2008

Old School

Bloggers can be awfully self-righteous, present company included. Many see the “new media” as superior to the old. And when they break a story, bloggers can beat their chests as strenuously as any ladder-climbing TV news guy. So it’s been with the Soulja Girl story. The video of a disturbed young woman’s too-long verbal abuse of an elderly passenger on a MARTA train went viral on youtube. The major Atlanta media overlooked it mostly. Some elements of the blogosphere went kinda nutso. It accused the media of ignoring a “critical” story. It demanded a MARTA response.

But the story was never really about MARTA. It was about the disturbed woman, and the curiously sanguine reaction of the other passengers. Although Ryan Cameron’s radio show got the first hint of the inside story, it finally took WSB’s Monica Pearson to nail it. Pearson interviewed the offensive woman’s mom, revealing that she’s bipolar and isn’t consistently medicated. Pearson also chatted by phone with the son of the elderly victim, who said she immediately recognized the woman was mentally disturbed. She simply sat and waited for the outburst to end. And she didn’t want to add to her grief by pressing charges or talking on TV. Good call.

Pearson was transparent about her method: She got an e-mail from the mom, obviously a fan of the longtime anchorwoman. The mom agreed to submit to Pearson’s tender mercies on-camera. Pearson got an exclusive, and the anguished mom got to explain, to a friendly face, her daughter’s now-famous erratic behavior.

It wasn’t rocket science, but Pearson has the experience to avoid fumbling a handoff. And Pearson, who is as old-media as it gets, became the source for the next round of Soulja Girl blogging.

Part of the background, now

Today’s AJC covers the war in Iraq with a four-sentence World in Brief. The brief notes four deaths in Sadr City. The war gets no other coverage.

If this is a milestone– and we think it might be– it’s not a good one.