Thirty-odd years ago, in between college and law school, I spent a summer as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal. For three weeks, I was assigned to the police beat. Each morning I’d arrive at the station house about 6 o’clock and go through the reports of the previous night’s calls, to decide which ones looked newsworthy. If I needed more information, I’d go find it. My editor upbraided me only once: when I interviewed the department spokesman rather than one of the officers.

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