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« Your Newspaper

If you, too, were outraged by funeral coverage in Saturday Vindy

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published November 24, 2014

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The reader was so mad, she even hated my haircut.
She called first thing Monday about our coverage Saturday of the funeral of Abdullah Mahdi — the Southside shop owner gunned down in a robbery attempt.
She called our coverage Saturday insensitive to the family, an intrusion on a very private moment, and a horrible decision by a local newspaper to invade a family this way.
The voicemail was pretty hostile: I was horrible; how we handled Traficant was rude; whoever “Associated Press” is that picked us as a best newspaper is ridiculous; my spiky haircut was awful; my columns are unfunny and unprofessional — especially ones about my kids; and she went on.
I’m glad she got this out of her system before the holidays. She was one of two angry calls about Saturday’s coverage.
Thankfully — they are in the minority.
The impact of the Saturday coverage was enormous — 30,000 reaches on Facebook fueled by 29 shares. Both of those numbers might be our most ever.
Our Tweets on Mahdi’s death and the Muslim community’s reaction had enormous engagement activity.
But if there are two angry readers, there are likely others. They are simply confused by the coverage if what they hated was that we “intruded.”
We were invited.
The family was hurt and outraged at the senselessness of Abdullah’s death, and felt bringing his funeral services to the front page would deliver to all the senselessness.
We agreed.
We’re appreciative of the many who saw the importance of our coverage.
But we’re also wary of the few who thought us evil in our ways. We want to make sure they knew the entire story behind our story.
My aim is that we report on funerals and services only in the most unique of situations.
When we do, I expect it to always be with the family’s blessings.
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