We're so lucky

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

Oh my goodness. It's a wild week here at the world headquarters of the Reno News & Review, high above Lander Street.

The grand jury results in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner police-involved homicide cases had repercussions even far away in little, old Reno. Maybe it's too “inside baseball,” but I know some of you care, so I'll tell you about it.

For one, something happened on Sunday. It's one of those hard-to-explain internet things, but all of a sudden, my website, www.fatalencounters.org (dealing with officer-involved killings), went crazy. 39,404 people visited the site, and many didn't just look, they either added data regarding officer-involved killings or they sent a donation to our new 501(c)3, Fatal Encounters Dot Org.

It's really overwhelming. With that came a deluge of journalists. Last week, I was in the Washington Post twice, on CNN, on Al Jazeera, on national NPR talking about the need for data on officer-involved deaths. It's kind of what's known as a “beneficial cycle,” in which the news reports feed in to the interest in the website, which spurs more interest on social media. It's the happy version of the better known “vicious cycle.”

The University of Southern California is writing a grant application to fund our collection of this data. That has been a learning experience all by itself. I can't begin to tell you how many other universities—from Columbia University to Georgia State University to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill—are analyzing our data.

And it's into this maelstrom that I'm working on the last Fatal Encounters package for our series. And guess what? It's finals week up at the university. If you'll listen real closely, you'll hear the sound of my brain imploding. Maybe I should rephrase that.

I've always said I'm the luckiest guy I know. In some ways, it's hard to say whether this is the luckiest thing that's ever happened to me, or whether it's payback for all the good luck I've had before.