Friday, March 17, 2006

Baghdad Bravery

While his colleague Jill Carroll is held captive by Iraqi kidnappers, Scott Peterson of The Christian Science Monitor continues to courageously report from Baghdad. His "Was It Worth It? An Iraqi Family Debates" in Friday's paper tells the story of the Methboubs, a poor Baghdad family who the Monitor has been following since late 2002 as it adjusts to life after Saddam Hussein. I've been seeing a lot of stories about the three-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion, but I like how Peterson and the Monitor give us an Iraqi perspective on the war. Peterson and all the other journalists who remain in Iraq deserve our gratitude for continuing to report these difficult stories. Full disclosure: I've had a soft place in my heart for the Monitor after writing several stories for it in the late 1990s.

For an update on Jill Carroll's ordeal, check out the Monitor's Web site.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Let's Make a Bad Deal

As San Diego sinks into ever-deeper debt, Brooke Williams and Danielle Cervantes of The San Diego Union-Tribune investigated what the city does with the more than 700 pieces of real estate that it leases to farmers, hotel owners and others. They found that the city has entered into many bad deals with politically connected tenants, sometimes locking itself into long-term deals at low rates and sometimes receiving no rent at all. Because the city keeps such bad records of its property deals, The Union-Tribune team created its own database of more than 5,000 figures to track how well, or poorly, San Diego manages its property. This is an excellent example of investigative reporting that follows the money to produce a story of great importance to taxpayers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Locking the Kids Away

Miles Moffeit and Kevin Simpson of the Denver Post concluded a terrific four-part investigative series today on young teens who are convicted of felonies as adults and then sentenced to life in prison. "Teen Crime, Adult Time" examines in great detail how some of these teens may indeed be innocent but had little support from lawyers or others as they tried to navigate the court system at ages as young as 14. Others were denied any chance at rehabilitation. Moffeit and Simpson skillfully weave together anecdotes, data analysis and policy explanations. Along with photographer Glenn Asakawa, they succeed in putting a human face on young people that most of society would rather forget about.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Genocide Revisited

NBC's Ann Curry deserves a standing ovation for making the difficult journey to the border between Sudan and Chad to report on the massacres that have killed up to 400,000 men, women and children in the Darfur region. On the NBC Nightly News last night and again this morning on the Today Show, Curry told the story of Jamaya, a young woman who walked barefoot 40 miles to a refugee camp after Arab militias called Janjaweed stormed her village threatening to kill all the men. Jamaya has not seen her husband since the raid. In addition to the print and broadcast versions of this story, the Nightly News Web package includes Curry's photo journal from the refugee camps, her personal commentary and a list of ways that viewers can help alleviate the crisis.
Curry traveled to Africa with Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times, whose well-reported columns have served as the media's conscience on Darfur, which may well be the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation. I wish the Times Web site wasn't charging people to read his Darfur columns because what he is writing is so important.

Monday, March 13, 2006

An American Tragedy

The Providence Journal is publishing a remarkable series this week that digs deeply into Rhode Island's past and describes the state's role in the slave trade. "The Unrighteous Traffick" by Paul Davis shows how the state's plantation owners used slaves to farm their fields, its Newport traders shipped 100,000 men, women and children from Africa and into slavery in the American colonies and the West Indies, and its leading businessmen, including the founders of Brown University, profited from the trade. Frieda Squires' photos and the Frank Gerardi's illustrations add to the power of this series.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Surfing for Spies

Anyone with the ability to surf the Internet can discover the identities of CIA covert operatives, John Crewdson reveals in a troubling story in Sunday's Chicago Tribune. Crewdson's investigation for "Internet Blows CIA Cover" found that the CIA's system for cloaking the identities of its employees is filled with holes. Using public records easily available on the Internet, Crewdson was able to learn the names, workplaces, phone numbers and post office box addresses of hundreds of CIA workers. Let's hope his revelations spur some needed reforms at the agency.,1,123362.story?coll=chi-news-hed
Site Meter