EDITOR’S DESK: The importance of telling the full story

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 11:06 AM.

Monday, television audiences said goodbye to CBS's "How I Met Your Mother," a sitcom that tracked protagonist Ted Mosby's journey to meet the love of his life.

The innovative series mixed slapstick and running gags with dramatic elements, character development and serial storytelling rarely seen on multi-camera comedies. Creatively, it was the next generation's "Friends."

I enjoyed the comedy — gems like "Challenge accepted" and "Legen-dary" are household sayings that appear on coffee mugs and T-shirts — and identified with Ted. The guy has the best of intentions and does well with work, but fails miserably with love.

And like millions, I wanted to know the mother's identity and see things work out for the best. You think that if Ted has a happy ending, somehow, some way, you will, too.

The show has figured prominently in my life. Especially after waiting nine years for the series' conclusion, and seeing the exact ending I wanted for these characters. (Don't worry, late watchers. I won't spoil it.)

That future Ted goes into excruciating detail with his kids as he recaps one of his life's most important moments seems appropriate, given the series' conclusion.

It all ties together.

Similarly, last week in this column, I told the story of one of the greatest compliments I've received while at the News Bulletin. But I deliberately buried the lede, HIMYM-style. To understand why the compliment mattered, you needed the back story.

It's also true in news.

We don't need to jump around the timeline, but we do need to tell the most complete story as we know it.

Last week, Matthew Brown and I teamed up for a special report on the 20 days since Emmanuel Menz, an autistic 3-year-old, was taken from a South Ferdon Boulevard Burger King.

The newspaper has covered what police and children's advocates said about the incident, but what about alleged kidnappers Karl Menz and Virginia Lynch?

I reached out to their friends and family with a Facebook message; few replied to the effort, and email conversations ended shortly after they began. Evidently, no one actually wanted to talk or go on the record beyond a brief sound bite.

It's unfortunate. If I'm putting someone's mug shots on the newspaper's front page in connection with a major, ongoing case, I'd like to know more of the story.

It's unfair, for me as an editor, to assume that Menz and Lynch are terrible people or close out other views. That doesn't happen here.

And let's be clear: Saying that isn't condoning their alleged actions; rather, it's understanding that in a post-Joey Floyd world, we need to hear from as many people as possible.

Yes, this HIMYM fan, naturally, is not content with half the story, and welcomes all views on even the most difficult issues.

We hope local, state and federal law enforcement officials can help bring Emmanuel back home, safe and sound, to the ones who love him.

That would be a satisfying conclusion to this story.

But in the meantime, we'd appreciate the chance to tell more of the story, and ensure we don't miss a beat.

What's your view? Write a letter to the editor or tweet News Bulletin Editor Thomas Boni @cnbeditor.

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