Saturday, June 24, 2006

Baghdad Encounter

Reporters Jacki Lyden and John McChesney and producer Emily Ochsenschlager had a brilliant story Friday on NPR's All Things Considered. "Anatomy of a Shooting: A Civilian's Death in Iraq" tells the story of Yasser Salihee, an Iraqi doctor who also translated for NPR and reported for Knight-Ridder newspapers. As he drove through the streets of Baghdad one morning last June, Salihee was shot by Army Sgt. Joe Romero of Lafayette, La. McChesney and Lyden deconstruct the shooting, telling what happened from the viewpoints of Romero's and of Salihee's family. Through the story of this one incident, Lyden and McChesney reveal the frustration and confusion of U.S. troops and the fear and anger of ordinary Iraqis. The Web package includes a link to the official Army report of the shooting, a map of the neighborhood, photos of Salihee and his wife and of his bullet-riddled car, and competing diagrams made by the Army and by Salihee's family.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Rapist Next Door

The Kansas City Star continues its rich investigative tradition with "Predators in Hiding" by Tony Rizzo and Laura Bauer. The Star team went door-to-door to find out if registered sex offenders were living where they were registered. The two-part series discloses that about 30 percent of sex offenders in the Kansas City area were not living where they were supposed to be. Rizzo and Bauer report that the most dangerous of the sex criminals are the ones most likely to move away from where they are registered. The series reveals a registry system that is ill-equipped to keep track of these offenders and gives frightening examples of the consequences. Thanks to loyal reader Brian Summers for the tip.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Over the Border

As the U.S. House prepares to debate immigration, it's worth looking at two excellent enterprise stories that shed light on the human side of the issue. "Migrating From Farm Hand to Orchard Owner" by Miguel Bustillo of the Los Angeles Times profiles Evaristo Silva, a former illegal immigrant who owns an apple orchard on the outskirts of Yakima, Wash. Now a U.S. citizen, Silva supports ending illegal immigration. I like how Bustillo's well-crafted story personalizes the complex issues swirling through the immigration debate.

Earlier this month, "Border Holds Perils for Kids" by Kevin G. Hall of Knight-Ridder Newspapers looked at how changes in U.S. policy affect the most vulnerable of migrants. Hall reports that stricter border enforcement means that fewer adult immigrants risk returning home to see their children and instead pay for their kids to be smuggled across the border to join them. As a result, more children are being caught by border patrol agents. Hall describes the scene after 12-year-old and 9-year-old cousins are caught:
"I want my mother," Jorge answered to every question from a reporter at a Mexican office that repatriates children apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. Shellshocked Vicente simply answered, "No se," Spanish for "I don't know," to everything he was asked.
Hall successfully weaves these personal examples into a broader story that takes a hard look at this trend.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Women in White Coats

Seven Days, a weekly paper in northern Vermont, is featuring an interesting trend story by Mary Hegarty Nowlan that looks at how the growing number of female doctors are altering health care in the U.S. "Medicine Women" describes how about half of all medical school students are now women and the ripple effect this change is having on how doctors practice. Nowlan cites research saying that female doctors are boosting the number of family and general practitioners, are more likely to spend time communicating with patients and are less likely to be sued. I like how Nowlan clearly and thoroughly examines the national trend while also showing its impact on her Vermont readers.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Security-Industrial Complex

Dwight Eisenhower warned us 45 years ago about the dangers of the military-industrial complex. In "Homeland Security Inc.," Eric Lipton of The New York Times shows just how prescient Ike was. The two-part series reports that at least 90 former officials hired after the 2001 terrorist attacks to work in the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security now work for companies that sell security products. In Sunday's first part, Lipton describes how these former government workers help their firms win lucrative contracts to sell their wares to the agencies they once helped direct. In today's second part, Lipton shows how many of these former government officials testify before Congress or appear in the media as think tank and academic experts while keeping close financial ties to security companies. Both stories are filled with strong examples.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dad Discovery

For Father's Day, Dallas Morning News photographer Louis DeLuca gives us a different look at becoming a dad. Through photos and audio, DeLuca tells his own story of rediscovering the joys of fatherhood after meeting Fu Yang, a Chinese boy flown to a Dallas hospital to correct a congenital facial deformity. Assigned to take pictures of Fu Yang, DeLuca found himself entranced by the bubbly boy. That night DeLuca and his wife, who already had three older children, decided to adopt Fu Yang. DeLuca's pictures in "Becoming Fu Yang's Dad" tell the rest of the story.
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