Friday, April 07, 2006

Beyond the Great Debate

I'm seeing some great coverage of the immigration issue that moves beyond the usual stereotypes and vitriol and presents the issue with nuance. "Immigration: Dollars and Sense" by Janie Har and Michelle Cole of The Oregonian looks at the impact Oregon's estimated 175,000 undocumented immigrants have on the state's economy. In addition to useful data and analysis, the story boasts strong examples.
Newsweek last week featured a wonderful photo gallery of immigrant communities around the country. What I like best about the "Not Born in the USA" pictures is that they show people in Idaho, Kansas and other states that are not usually thought of as immigrant havens.
And "Help Wanted, but Stay Out" by Jim Ragsdale and Rick Linsk of the St. Paul Pioneer Press shows how employers keep welcoming illegal workers despite the laws designed to keep them out of the country. Ragsdale and Linsk start with a great anecdote about German Morales, an immigrant who repeatedly tried crossing the border until he made it safely to Minnesota, where he has worked for the past 10 years.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Let's talk

The Virginian-Pilot is engaging in an interesting example of community journalism on its Web site. In response to a push to allow drilling for oil and gas off of Virginia's coast, the Pilot has created a forum, "Offshore 101," that lets community leaders and readers share their views on what impact the drilling would have. I like the mix of people featured on the forum: state legislators, Sierra Club activists, Department of Energy officials, businessmen and city council members. This kind of participatory discussion probably sheds more light on the issue than a straight news article would have. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


In an nice example of computer-assisted reporting, Patrick Lakamp of The Buffalo News looked at whether the city's police are successful at nabbing burglars. In "To Catch a Thief (or Not)," he concludes that Buffalo's residents have little chance of getting their possessions back if they're swiped. Lakamp shows that the local cops made arrests or sought warrants in only 14 percent of the 1,774 home burglaries reported during the first seven months of 2005, lower than the rate for nearby towns. I like how Lakamp gives us examples from people's lives, reasons why the police have such a hard time catching the burglars, and interesting highlights of the data (for instance, modest homes are the most likely to be burglarized).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Failing the Tests

The Philadelphia Inquirer has featured strong stories the past two Sundays that dig deep beneath the surface of standardized testing. "In Reading, Dick Lags far behind Jane" by Kristen A. Graham and Dan Hardy looks at why boys are falling so far behind girls in most educational benchmarks. I like how Hardy and Graham evaluate the possible reasons for the gap and look at what different school are trying to do to combat the problem. "Principal Tells of Pressure to Cheat" by Melanie Burney, Frank Kummer and Dwight Ott shares a whistleblower's story of how he was threatened with losing his job if he didn't change student answer sheets. Thanks to Brian Summers for tipping me off to this story.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Heating Up

If you missed it, definitely check out Time's special report in last week's issue, "Global Warming: Be Worried. Be Very Worried." It may be the most important story of the year. Journalists, of course, have been writing excellent articles about global warming for many years, but by putting together such a comprehensive package and by stating its conclusions so boldly, Time makes it an issue that politicians and business leaders can no longer try to ignore. Jeffrey Kluger's cover story connects the dots of climate change's devastation. An interview with NASA climate scientist James Hansen and sidebars by David Bjerklie on the havoc global warming is playing in the biological world, and by Adam Smith on a bank that is trying to be carbon neutral, add to the package's strength. But perhaps the story is told best by the powerful images captured in the issue's photo essay, "Ice, Wind and Fire.",9171,1176980,00.html
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