The New Orleans Times-Picayune’s account of the investigation into the murder of 17-year-old Lance Michael Zarders, written by police reporter Brendan McCarthy, is riveting readers in New Orleans, reports Editor & Publisher Part six of the eight-part series was published today. By contrast, the Washington Post’s 12-part investigation into the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy gets its share of praise and page views, but also well-publicized hoots from bloggers, a lot of readers, and journalists that include some inside the Post newsroom.
McCarthy, 26, calls himself “lucky” to be covering crime in the U.S. city with the highest per-capita murder rate. Comments from readers appended to the Web version of each chapter of the Times-Picayune series “Homicide 37: Seeking justice for Lance” praise the storytelling and rail against the crime that plagues New Orleans, and the incompetence that let Lance Zarders be shot down right below a crime surveillance camera the city never got around to actually turning on. McCarthy was riding with the two detectives readers would come to know intimately from the story — Anthony Pardo and Harold Wischan — when the call came in about the unknown black male who turned out to be Lance Zarders. The series can be seen at www.nola.com.