Teen’s tribute video ‘is a reminder that anyone can report reliably now’

Fourteen-year-old Jake Lobb produced a video to “show respect” for a boy in his middle school who committed suicide – a tribute that veteran Detroit journalist Alan Stamm first thought was professionally produced because of its high quality.

Stamm is also impressed by Lobb’s “newsroom-style approach” to his video creation.

Find sources: Hours after the March 21 tragedy in a school bathroom, the 14-year-old video whiz was in a reporting mode. He asked his 366 Twitter followers for “any pictures, videos anything about Tyler” in the first of several crowdsourcing appeals.
Be persistent: “I need some more pictures please” reads another tweet from that long day.
Do research: For context and emotional impact, the young storyteller found a quote about overcoming despair from author Harriet Beecher Stowe and hauntingly appropriate music. His soundtrack is Why, a 2009 country song about a 17-year-old’s suicide.
Stress accuracy: The victim’s Facebook page lists his birth date as May 8, 1990, which Jake knew couldn’t be right. To prepare this slide, Jake asked on Twitter for the correct date and explained: ”I’m just worried and I don’t want to get it wrong . . . So I need like proof!” He used May 8, 1999 after two sources confirmed it. No editor could expect more.

* “Citizen journalism” after a schoolmate’s suicide (alanstamm.wordpress.com)