A story worth reading

I’d like to do something a little different here, and write about someone else’s journalism work, not mine.

I read a fantastic two-part series in The Washington Post recently, detailing the story of a pregnant woman who was kidnapped and her abductor tried to cut her baby out of her belly. Just the basic facts of the story are insane, and the Post reporters did a great job delving into the details of what happened.

So please check out part one and part two, as well as a Q&A with the reporters. The Q&A offers great insight into how they did the story and why.

What I like most is that these reporters put real faces and real emotions on a grisly story. And they’ve done it in a way that’s compelling, but not sensational.

And a couple things stick out to me from the Q&A: how hard the one reporter had to work to get the pregnant woman (Teka Adams) to talk, and also how one of the reporters was assigned to the story part-time, while the other reporter was assigned to this full-time for months.

That’s the benefit of working for a big paper with lots of resources — their reporters can devote lots of time to a single story, without worrying about how the newspaper is going to fill the pages day-to-day. I have to admit I’m a bit jealous!

I’d love to hear what all of you like — and maybe dislike — about the stories. Feel free to share your comments.

4 thoughts on “A story worth reading

  1. Great story. The Post did another great two-parter recently that has far from a happy ending, but is likewise an incredible read.

    It’s evident from reading them that the reporting processes were quite different. In Teka’s story the reporters had the intensive cooperation of the subject of the story; in the other story, reporter Paul Duggan had to piece it all together from court records, detectives and interviews with reluctant (and sometimes anonymous) witnesses. Yet both are gripping stories.

    As Pam said, pieces like this show the value of a good newspaper. And — shameless plug for print newspapers! — the Duggan series was one that was nice to read in print, as I originally did. It ran as a multi-page spread with great pictures and graphics. I didn’t read Teka’s story in print (I had the print edition, but just didn’t have time that day), but I’m sure it would have been better that way, too. [Shameless plug for print over.]

    Here are Paul Duggan’s series and a Q&A with him. Trust me, if you’re thinking it’s just street crime and you’ve heard it all before, you haven’t. Not like this.

    Part 1: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/02/AR2010060200096.html
    Part 2: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060300109.html
    Q&A: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/story-lab/2010/06/the_story_behind_prelude_to_a.html

  2. Pam – I read this story late last week and couldn’t stop reading until I’d got to the end. Thanks for sharing it – It was incredibly well done, and inspiring to read as a reporter. 🙂

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