Friday, December 04, 2009

WaPo piece on Langway's daughter doesn't sit right

My brother sent me an e-mail today with a link to Mark Giannotto's Washington Post article on Rod Langway's estranged daughter. I skimmed it when it came out last week, but once my brother asked for my opinion I decided to read the whole thing.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've been a Capitals fan since the Langway days. But I'm also a journalism professor so I would hope my fan status isn't completely shading my views here.

My issue with the article isn't really that it paints Rod Langway in a bad light, it's that there's no real story there to begin with. Well, maybe there is, but Giannotto doesn't find it. The "how" and "why" of the story are afterthoughts so it ends up just being venting space for a 16-year-old girl.

This, to me, was the whole story:
Langway and his wife, Teresa, say they have tried numerous times to bridge the gap between Hannah and her father, but that Sasscer refused to let Teresa be around Hannah, a stipulation Langway would not agree to.

"It hurt Rod and I couldn't even show him how much it hurt me," Teresa Langway said. "It's just a tragedy for Hannah. Everybody would have welcomed Hannah. We all would have loved her. We waited for years and years."

The Sasscers dispute this assertion. Sasscer said she is willing to allow Teresa to meet Hannah without her being present.

And? Expand on that. Is there some bitter tension there? Does Sasscer say "That's ridiculous I've invited Rod and Teresa to dinner numerous times?" What was Sasscer's reaction to Teresa Langway's "we all would have loved her" statement? We'll never know.

Those three short paragraphs are the entire "why" and "how," and they were buried on page three of a five page piece.

I'd be fine with the article if its focus was the conflict between Langway and mother Sasscer, even though it'd be a bit smutty. I'd also be fine if it was a personal profile of the girl or a story of her perseverance despite her family situation, but they glossed over both of those things, too. So really, what's the article about? Langway has an estranged daughter and she hates him. That's it. Is that really deserving of being in The Washington Post?