Thursday, December 29, 2005

Meet the New Neighbors

Hamilton, Ontario, recently became the new home for 400 Somalian refugees. To let its readers get to know their new neighbors, the Hamilton Spectator embarked on an extraordinary 25-part project that details the horrors the Somalis escaped from and the courage it took for them to get to Canada. For eight months, Spectator reporter Wade Hemsworth and photographer Cathie Coward traveled to Somalia and Kenya and conducted 100 interviews to vividly portray the lives of the new people in town. This is a great example of journalists comforting the afflicted and giving a voice to the powerless.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Last Hurrah

The Chicago Tribune's WomanNews section left with an impressive flourish today. The Tribune's bean counters have decided to kill the section, but editor Cassandra West (who once edited one of my freelance stories) devoted the last edition to "Crossing Borders," a look at the growing number of female immigrants to the U.S. The photos by Heather Stone and stories by Stephen Franklin, Monica Eng, T. Shawn Taylor, Meg McSherry Breslin, Grace Aduroja and Trine Tsouderos tell of women who have risked injury and death seeking opportunities for their families and themselves in the United States. The most powerful article, by Patrice Jones, tells the story of Yolanda Echeverria, a Mexican woman forced into sexual slavery in Los Angeles. The Web version of this project includes a documentary video and more of Stone's powerful photos.,1,287998.htmlstory?coll=chi-news-hed

Monday, December 26, 2005

Jailhouse Fraud

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas, happy first night of Hanukah or at least a fun, relaxing weekend. While eating my latkes yesterday, I enjoyed a great story by Dennis Wagner of The Arizona Republic on how inmates are getting rebates from fraudulent tax returns. "Inmates Scam IRS Big Time," details how the IRS caught 18,000 U.S. prisoners falsely applying for $68 million in refunds last year, or one-seventh of all fake refunds. The actual amount of prisoner fraud is probably much higher, Wagner explains, because of cracks in the system and a lack of resources by prosecutors. What makes this story work so well is that it uses strong anecdotes to bring its data to life.
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