There are occasions in Beauty from Afar when I use contemporaneous news reporting about medical travel and tourism as kind of a foil: “This is what was reported,” vs. “This is what actually happened,” or “This is what they didn’t say.”
As someone who has spent a lot of years in a newsroom, I didn’t take any fiendish glee in pointing out the shortcomings of reporting. I am only too aware of how difficult the job can be and how hard it is to do well. The anecdote with which I lead in Chapter 2, about a brief panic in New York City over mysterious illnesses attributed to botched cosmetic surgery done in the Dominican Republic, is a case in point.
You’ll have to stop back to get the rest of the story, since I’m taking this a day at a time. But I recall that I managed to track down the reporter who did the original story — which was fine, as far as it went. But as I pointed out, the story cried out for a follow-up that never came. (Until Beauty from Afar.) The reporter was an intern, gone by the end of the summer. No one else followed up. That kind of thing happens a lot in journalism. Even at The New York Times.