Re-visit human interest stories to let us know what happened

Question: Occasionaally you print an article recounting the sad story of a person or family having unusual difficulties, such as the loss of their home and belongings by fire (with no insurance), or a devastating illness without enough funds for special surgeries, etc., with the closing stating that donations may be sent to a bank account set up for that purpose.

Several times I have responded to that need, but have received no information that the family even received the money, nor has there been a follow-up in your paper, with the news of whether the person was able to have the surgery, nor how they are doing - such as a baby girl recently whose families health insurance would cover only one cochlear implant and she needed two. I'd like to know whether they received enough funds for the second implant and if she is now hearing. I'd also like to know about the results for the little boy with one leg so much shorter than other. Surely the other people who responded with help for these families would also be interested to know the end of the story! -- Phyllis J. Brooks, Spokane

Answer: Your question points to a common failing by the media - we don't do as well as we should in following up on the stories we write. Most of the reason for that is because every day there is new news to report. Because of time and space and staff constraints, we must devote most of our resources to looking forward rather than backward.

However, I admit to you that the media also has a short attention span; we move from breaking news story to breaking news story. And, it's often in the smaller, quieter stories that we could make the larger impact. We often forget that. I can't promise that we'll go back and revisit the stories you mention here, but I can pledge to do a better job at updating those stories in our local community that people seem to respond and reach out to. -- Carla Savalli, city editor

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