Where’s the ‘why’ in Memphis story?

Regular GetReligion reader MJBubba sent along a link to a Memphis Commercial Appeal story on the one-year anniversary of a police officer’s slaying.

The headline certainly gives the impression that religion will play a key role in the story:

Widow carries on fallen officer’s ministry

The top of the story:

Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the day Memphis police officer Timothy Warren was shot and killed while on duty at Downtown’s Double Tree Hotel.

But his wife, Betsy Warren, didn’t want to focus on his death at age 39.

“I’ve had too much on my mind to sit back and dwell on it,” she said, her eyes heavy.

Instead, she chose to carry on his legacy of ministry by passing out water and food for the homeless and for Memphis police officers Tuesday evening on Third Street in front of the Pepsi-Cola Pavilion, only a couple of blocks from the hotel.

“Tim would be out here fighting not just for the homeless but for the officers and safety of the officers on the street,” Betsy Warren said. She wore a Memphis police emblem necklace, similar to the one her husband wore.

She said Timothy Warren was a strong advocate for community service, often preparing peanut butter sandwiches and trays of extra food from a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless through Holy Cow, a Christian ministry the couple started.

That’s actually a pretty major chunk of the relatively short story.

MJBubba’s assessment of the piece:

There are plenty of ghosts. … However, even though it leaves me with lots of unanswered questions about motivation, ministry church connections, etc., I am very happy that the CA did a follow-up.

Yes, it’s nice that the Commercial Appeal followed up on last year’s news. But it’s too bad that the newspaper failed to provide any kind of meaningful exploration of the family’s faith and the role it has played in sustaining the widow since her husband’s death.

This story is OK, but addressing the big questions — including the “Why?” behind the ministry — would have made it much better.

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About Bobby Ross Jr.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning reporter and editor with a quarter-century of professional experience. A former religion editor for The Oklahoman and religion writer for The Associated Press, Ross serves as chief correspondent for the The Christian Chronicle. He has reported from 47 states and 11 countries and was honored as the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 Magazine Reporter of the Year.


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