We raised the question earlier this week of whether or not the WaPo series on Chandra Levy aided in leads to an arrest this weekend. Former WaPo executive editor Len Downie addressed that very question with Editor & Publisher this week.
Here are excerpts from that E&P piece:
“I certainly think the series called attention to the problems in the original investigation, including missing clues that pointed to this suspect… I think it did cause the police to redouble their efforts.”
Asked if the latest development vindicates the Post’s series, Downie said the series was worthwhile even without this expected arrest because it pointed out some police investigation missteps: “It had very high readership. It was to remind the public that the police work raised questions and who might be responsible for this. I think it was a real public service.”
He then added, “if it helped get the police moving, that is another public service. I think the series was really good journalism anyway, this just makes me feel better about what we accomplished.”
Updated 3:10pm to reflect that an arrest in this case has not yet been made.