Friday, October 28, 2005

Risking the American Dream

A Mexican family crossing the border into Arizona illegally discovers a young mother badly injured in the desert. Do they continue ahead to what they hope will be their promised land, or do they find notify the Border Patrol about the injured woman and risk losing their American dream? Margaret Regan of the Tucson Weekly uses compelling narrative writing to tell us this tale of life and death, hope and despair, and heroes and villains in "Marta's Story."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Learning How to Save Lives

As the United States faces a growing shortage of nurses, Scott Allen of the Boston Globe began looking at what it takes to train a new nurse. The result of his enterprising reporting is a masterful four-part series, "Critical Care: the Making of an ICU Nurse." Allen uses a narrative approach to take us behind the scenes at Massachusetts General Hospital, showing us the difficult work and critical decisions nurses make on a constant basis. The human drama makes this article read like a novel. Michele McDonald's photographs are equally as gripping.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bosses of Disabled Workers Make Big Bucks

The heads of some charities are making increasing amounts of money while paying workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage, Jeff Kosseff and Bryan Denson of the Portland Oregonian reveal. In "CEOs benefit as charities boom," they use U.S. Labor Department records to trace the growing disparity between these chiefs of not-for-profits and the disabled workers they employ to fulfill government contracts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Golden Stories

The New York Times has taken it on the chin lately for its mistakes. But it remains, in my humble opinion, the nation's best newspaper because of the tremendous depth of its reporting. A great example are stories it has run this week on the human and environmental cost of the world's growing appetite for gold. In Monday's "Behind Gold's Glitter: Torn Lands and Pointed Questions," Jane Perlez and Kirk Johnson takes us behind the scenes of the gold industry from Montana to India to Ghana and beyond. And in today's Times, Perlez's and Lowell Bergman's "Tangled Strands in Fight Over Peru Gold Mine" gives us a passionate look at the impact that mining is having on a peasant community high up in the Andes.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Luring Athletes

I continue to be impressed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's sports department, which has a knack for finding the trends and human stories behind the headlines. For instance in "Coaches' new tool: 'texting' recruits," Ray Fittipaldo shows how college coaches are using text messaging to get around limits on how often they can talk with high school athletes. It's a fascinating look at how big-time NCAA sports recruiting works.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

$20 Ice-Cube Trays

The Pentagon is wasting taxpayer money again by paying $20 for ice-cube trays and $81 for coffee makers it once purchased for $29, according to an investigation by Lauren Markoe and Seth Borenstein of Knight Ridder Newspapers. In their story, "Pentagon purchases: Millions in markups," they analyze data to show how a purchasing program called "prime vendor," which uses middlemen rather than buying directly from manufacturers, costs taxpayers 20 percent more than the previous system.

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