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As American social problems become more wickedly complicated, they also become harder to understand—and describe. And few in the news media, which has always struggled with complicated stories, still have the resources to tell these tales. Into this void have stepped artists, who have used their skills to capture the tragedies of the drug war, the peculiar institution of prisons, and the trauma of economic dislocation. What stories can artists tell that professional and citizen journalists can’t? And are we coming to count too much on the arts to connect us to the realities around us? Photographer and documentarian Jamel Shabazz and “The Wire” creator and journalist David Simon visit Zócalo to discuss how artists can best offer unflinching views of real life.