The 1995 Sigma Delta Chi Awards: the winning work - and some perspective from those who did it.
NEWSPAPER/WIRE SERVICES (circulation more than 100,000)
Alix M. Freedman, Suein L. Hwang, Amy Stevens Elizabeth Jensen, Laurie P. Cohen, The Wall Street Journal, Coverage of the tobacco industry
Leading U.S. tobacco companies enhance nicotine delivery to smokers by adding ammonia-based compounds to their cigarettes, according to two major internal reports by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
The $45 billion tobacco industry vehemently denies that it seeks to keep smokers hooked by increasing nicotine levels in cigarettes. But the confidential reports obtained by this newspaper indicate that, while cigarette makers may not bolster nicotine content per se, most are adding chemicals that increase the potency of the nicotine a smoker actually inhales.
The lengthy internal reports by the nation's No. 3 cigarette maker are remarkable because both were drafted in the early 1990s and thus provide a rare window into recent activities of B&W and its leading competitors. One of the confidential documents is especially intriguing because of its competitive analysis of ammonia use in Marlboro, Philip Morris U.S.A.'s market-dominating brand.
At a time when American tobacco sellers are already under intense legal and regulatory attack, the Brown & Williamson research could create new problems for the industry. In particular, the analysis of how B&W and its rivals use chemicals that, the reports assert, enhance nicotine delivery could assist efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as a drug.
"Smoking is, of course, one of the great public health issues of our time ... But 1995 was a watershed year for tobacco reporting," said Paul Steiger, managing editor of The Journal. "The companies have become smarter, tougher and more aggressive. In particular, last year they used the threat and sometimes the reality of massive legal action to intimidate news organizations into holding back their coverage.
The Journal decided to assign a team of reporters with experience covering the industry, the media, marketing, law, public health, and politics. The most difficult aspect of the effort, team members say, was penetrating a secretive industry and gaining access to documents and other resources that shed light on the internal research of tobacco companies into the health effects of cigarettes.
The Journal counts many firsts in its tobacco coverage:
* Revealing the existence of two criminal investigations of tobacco-company executives.
* Disclosing Camel's marketing plan aimed at young adults.
* Reporting a study of how filter bits may lodge in smokers' lungs.
* Writing about Brown & Williamson's aborted plans to enter the nicotine-patch business.
* Uncovering a Philip Morris draft report comparing nicotine to cocaine and outlining a plan to develop a "safer cigarette."
Freedman's story of how cigarette companies regulate nicotine delivery showed how companies' ammonia-based additives convert nicotine into a far more potent form - "free" nicotine - that is absorbed more quickly by the smoker.
The Journal's team still is in place, and coverage continues.
NEWSPAPER/WIRE SERVICES (circulation less than 100,000)
Bryan Corliss, Donna Kemp, Becky Kramer, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, This Land is My Land
The dispute between the Wise Use Movement and environmentalists today mirrors that long-ago struggle between settlers and Native Americans, said Scott McLean, a Weston native who taught political science at Whitman College.
The settlers saw the land as something to be possessed and used; that was the directive given them by their God. Native Americans saw themselves as an extension of the land, created by their Great Spirit to be in harmony with the other creatures.
"It was two completely different moral universes that didn't understand each other," said McLean, who now teaches at Qunnipiac College in Connecticut.
Today, American Land Rights Association founder Chuck Cushman likes to say: "The preservationists have become like a new religion, a new paganism that worships trees and sacrifices people."
One of the targets of Cushman's wrath, Terri Pauly of the National Parks and Conservation Association, counters: "Who are we to say we should have the last chance to view this land the way it is? Are we going to have to lose this before we realize the value of these areas?"
Walla Walla County was the first county in Washington to adopt a Joint Powers ordinance, an assertion of the county's right to force state and federal agencies to comply with local custom and culture before taking any land-use action. The ordinance was adopted quietly during the holiday season in December 1993.
Neighboring Columbia County adopted an identical ordinance the following spring. The staff of the 15,500-circulation Union-Bulletin said its goal was to explain to readers why Walla Walla and Columbia counties adopted the ordinance and why environmental groups and federal employee organizations had sued the counties in response. The newspaper tried to place the local story within a greater regional context, seeking links between the Walla Walla ranchers who lobbied for the local ordinance and other latter-day sagebrush rebels in New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.
A team of three reporters, supported by two staff photographers and a freelancer, spent five months reporting and writing the 52 stories and sidebars. Another month was devoted to editing and updating stories and developing maps and graphics. The entire staff took turns proofreading the finished product during the week before publication.
"We have only six permanent full-time reporters here, so it just wasn't feasible for all of us to be off working on this at once," said reporter Bryan Corliss. "What we did was to put one of us on the project full time for a week at a time. The other two then would split up the regular assignments for the daily papers."
"Travel was tough, too," Corliss said. "We went to some pretty out-of-the-way places ... Reserve, New Mexico, Good Grief, Idaho. And as we went on, we started finding some of our sources were getting pretty wary of reporters ... I had one woman cancel an interview, and I found out later it was because she thought I might actually be a federal agent. Donna had one guy throw her out of his pickup ..."
The Union-Bulletin is working on another series as an outgrowth of this effort.
Darcy Frey, freelance writer, The New York Times Magazine, Does Anyone Here Think This Baby Can Live?
Half-past midnight, 12 hours after the Brigham doctors consulted with Jennifer and Kevin DeCosta about the fate of their child, the high-risk delivery bell went off in the NICU and the receptionist called out to the triage team, "23-weeker, delivery room 9!" Dylan DeCosta was on his way.
One triage nurse, Yvonne Sheldon, ran to wake Dr. Ringer, who had just retired to his on-call room. Two young physicians, Helen Christou and Gregory Preibe, and a second nurse, Phil Capistran, were already halfway to Jennifer's room ...
If the trip had taken 10 seconds longer, the team would have missed the main event. As Christou, Preibe and Capistran sprinted down the hallway, they could hear moaning coming from delivery room 9. Then they flung open the door, swept aside the inner curtain and there was Jennifer, legs apart, screaming and pushing, Kevin squeezing her hand, his eyes huge and terrified, and the obstetrician in her catcher's crouch calling urgently to the triage team: "Now, guys! We're going to have a baby now!" Ringer and Sheldon ran in a second later, packing the dimly lighted room. Just as the doctors opened their CPR kits, Jennifer gave one last piercing cry. The obstetrician snipped the umbilical cord, turned and advanced toward the NICU team with a small dark mass in her outstretched hands.
It felt like being at the scene of an accident - seeing a human body so altered from its normal state that you feel the top of your skull lift slightly from the shock of it. He was a mere 10 inches long, weighed 1 pound 4 ounces, and though he possessed the right number of arms, legs, fingers and toes, he was little more than a fetus lying in a puddle of amniotic fluid on the warming table. His oversize head was covered with purplish bruises from the trauma of birth. His skin was plum-dark and gelatinous. And though his face looked like a baby's, his eyes were still fused shut, as if grimacing at the cruelty of being expelled so prematurely from the womb.
Nurse Capistran stuck a rubber bulb in the baby's mouth to suction fluid from his lungs, then Nurse Sheldon toweled him off - actions that would trigger a normal infant's first cry and breath. But this marginal organism did not breathe spontaneously. Aside from a few twitch movements, he lay on the white sheet silent and limp. He looked no more like he belonged in this world than if he breathed through gills.
This is the story of one premature baby, from the moment he was born at 23 weeks' gestation, to the moment his life support was withdrawn and he died 36 hours later.
Frey, a freelance journalist who is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, was asked by The Times editors to explore the moral and medical issues that have arisen since modern technology can take 23-week fetuses and turn them into babies, with varying degrees of success.
Frey spent a month with doctors and nurses at the neonatal intensive care unit at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, working 12-hours shifts alongside medical staff. Frey never left the hospital during Dylan DeCosta's short life because he wanted to report on the experiences of everyone involved as the story unfolded.
How does Frey look at his work?
"The most gratifying aspect of this work was discovering a way to write this story that - I hope - did justice to the wildly divergent thoughts and feelings of all the participants. The case of Dylan DeCosta pitted one doctor against another, one parent against another, and pushed everyone to their emotional limits. Yet, I think everyone involved felt their thoughts and feelings were sympathetically, accurately portrayed."
"The story found an extremely wide readership. The New York Times received hundreds of letters from readers - many of them doctors and parents who had found themselves in similar situations.
"Much journalism about neonatology has taken a decidedly partisan tack - either arguing for or against aggressive care of premature infants. I like to think that this story conveyed a more complicated picture - that there is rarely a 'right' answer in these cases; and that doctors and parents can all strenuously disagree, and still have the patient's best interests at heart."
Diane Toomey, Sharon Corpening, Adam Hochberg, Kevin Wolf, WUNC Public Radio, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Minority Health in North Carolina
... Theresa lives in a mobile home in rural Scotland County, near the South Carolina border. A large Bible, a baseball trophy, and a certificate from a tractor-trailer school adorn her simple living room while her husband is out driving an 18-wheeler, something Theresa also did until a few months ago. The 31-year-old is without a car or a telephone, but she does have Hattie Brown.
Hattie: When they spend some time with you, and they sense you really care for them, you become the best of friends, 'cause they know you're for real.
Brown is Theresa's maternal outreach worker ... and part of an army of local women in 24 counties throughout the state. The job of these health department employees is to help clients, usually low-income women, have healthy, full-term babies. That assignment means their duties run the gamut ... driving a woman to the doctor, providing nutrition information, and even, as Hattie did for Theresa, bargain for time against a bank foreclosure notice.
Theresa: She's like a mama. Me bein' a new mother to this, a lot of things I didn't know. She give me insights. I couldn't have made it financially, emotionally or any other way without their help.
It may be easy to imagine why Theresa is considered an at-risk mother, considering her limited resources. But the dismal minority infant mortality rate in North Carolina holds true regardless of education or income. In 1993 that rate stood at over 16 deaths per 1,000 births. If Theresa were rich and college-educated, she would still, as an African-American, have more than twice the chance of losing her baby in the first year of its life, compared to a white mother. Even black women working in the health field are not immune. Both Brown and another maternal outreach worker, Linda Kutchen, have sisters who lost babies, and Kutchen has her own story to tell.
Kutchen: My son was 4 pounds 16 ounces and was four months premature. So for me, I knew. I went to the doctor's religiously and ate right and did all the things I was supposed to do.
But she was lucky. Her son survived, but does suffer from asthma, a common ailment among children born prematurely. Kutchen doesn't hesitate to venture an explanation for her experience.
Kutchen: For me I think it was a matter of stress. It was a matter of bein' a black woman, having to reach those goals. And so even though I got the prenatal care, but it's how you live too.
It's a controversial explanation ... that racism and its accompanying stress ... can result in babies born too small and too soon. Last year, the state legislature funded a project to search for the explanations that elude the professionals.
But a former staff member of the governor's commission on infant mortality subscribes to the racism theory. Thirteen years ago, Vanessa Davis gave birth to a daughter three months too soon. The infant lived just seven minutes. Davis, who now works with adolescent parents, warns against underestimating the pressure of being black in America.
Davis: I don't want to sound like a victim. But something I usually use to bring it home to people that don't have to function that way on a routine basis is ... think about in the past 24 hours, if at any time you've had to remember that you're white? And then you can ask just about every African-American. In a 24-hour period, they've been reminded by an action or a deed or by having to state it or by someone making it recognizable that they are African-American. So it's the intangibles.
WUNC staff members explain that the Minority Health Series is part of an ongoing relationship between WUNC-FM and the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research in Raleigh. The project grew from a lengthy report on the issue written by the non-profit think-tank. North Carolina minorities, especially African-Americans, are less healthy than white residents. Their death rates from almost every major disease far exceed those of whites. This six-part series examined the obstacles to health in minority communities through the voices of those most affected.
Although the groundwork had been laid, WUNC saw its job as turning the statistics into good radio. They started with specific health issues that disproportionately afflict minorities in North Carolina. Those include heart disease, diabetes, AIDS, breast cancer, and infant mortality. Then they wove into the narrative issues that cause the rift between minorities and the health care system.
Finally, WUNC found people who fit the profiles to talk. That wasn't easy, they say. In many ways, the issue was too broad for radio. But the key was in finding real people, using their voices, and giving listeners as much scene as possible to bring them into a sense of place.
TELEVISION JOURNALISM (Networks and top 40 markets)
Debi Faubion, Lori Arrington Katzenstein, Michael Kronley, Bill Walker, WSOC-TV, Charlotte, North Carolina, Carolina Crime Solutions
Walker: Our first neighborhood was Seversville. We have learned a lot from people in that small neighborhood. It was there we began to really see how inner city crime is affecting individuals.
Faubion: Seversville is located in Five Points, near Johnson C. Smith University. Residents there say they put their lives in danger by telling their stories. But courage and determination prevailed, and today Seversville is a different community ... It was a frightening concept, challenging the criminal element and taking a stand. But during a town meeting, they found the courage to go in front of the cameras and tell their stories.
Seversville resident: I know that the people of Seversville are afraid because they never know what's going to happen. But you turn in a drug dealer, you might get shot and that's what some of these people are afraid of. But if they stand together I feel as though we can make a difference. We can push the drugs out of Seversville. We can make it a better place for our children.
Faubion: Their fears were real. Because within Seversville was one of the most dangerous streets in Charlotte - Katonah Avenue. Several murders have been witnessed here.
Seversville resident: Anything can go on - shooting, killing. Lots of things go on over here. The drugs is out of control.
Faubion: Perhaps the most devastating murder happened in May 1993. A child was shot while riding in a vehicle. Five-year-old Chiquita Howser died on Katonah Avenue ... It was the safety of the children that most concerned this community.
Faubion: Following our special reports on Seversville, Mayor Richard Vinroot called for action. First Union Bank and other companies joined in the venture ... More than one year after residents made their plea, a temporary community center was complete. A celebration included all the people who worked so hard to make it happen ... and when the center opened up, so did residents. There was a sense of empowerment.
Seversville resident: We have leaders in this community that's not going to take no for answer. We sit on the mayor's steps until he comes in and then we will let him know how we feel and what we want.
Faubion: A long way from decaying infrastructure and unkempt houses. In the genesis of Seversville came physical revitalization. More than 20 homes have been renovated and are being sold to low-income residents ... Residents united to form a 250-member community watch program. Police cracked down on drug dealers. The mayor created a program to repossess houses where drug activity is an ongoing problem. And some of the most generous efforts came from strangers, people who called in to the United Way phone bank and volunteered. For example, several people helped send Seversville's children to summer camp. This was one of many events that the youngsters enjoyed. Of course Seversville still has its share of problems. But crime is down and there is a renewed sense of hope in this community.
Seversville resident: I think that people saw possibilities and in seeing possibilities they realized that no matter how bleak a situation may appear to be, there is hope and there is a chance to do something to better the situation.
WSOC's goal was to bring the Charlotte-area community together in an effort to understand the crime problems from the residents' point of view, to seek solutions, and to follow up with the people who make decisions on change. The two-year campaign helped residents in nine high-crime neighborhoods in Charlotte to find their own solutions to crime by putting them together with city officials and volunteers. WSOC organized nine town meetings, aired nine half-hour specials, solicited volunteers, ran more than 200 packages during newscasts, two dozen crime tips, and a series of public service announcements. The project ended with a one-hour special that documented the successes and highlighted the problems that still need attention.
Lori Arrington Katzenstein, the coordinating producer, offered these thoughts:
"We wanted to give residents an opportunity to speak out about the problems contributing to crime in their communities. And through this effort we were able to bring neighborhoods, political leaders, help agencies, media representatives and volunteers together to talk about the issues. And from those discussions came amazing changes.
"The hardest aspect of this project was reminding myself each day that my job was to report the issues and not to create change. That has to come from people who care. We are journalists, not social workers. We must maintain our objectivity. That seemed most difficult when dealing with children trapped in poverty and despair.
"But ultimately I just learned how to be a better journalist. I learned how to really listen and not just hit and run for a good sound bite. And I gained a tremendous amount of respect for the many people who put their lives on the line to share their stories."
TELEVISION JOURNALISM (all other markets)
The 150-member staff of KWTV, Oklahoma City, Terror Hits Home
From live reports of KWTV reporters:
About a third ... about a third of the building has been blown away and you can see this smoke and debris and fire on the ground downtown on the ground. This is just devastating as we are uncertain what caused this explosion at this time. It happened around nine o'clock.
It was felt as far away as Channel 9. That's a good, at least five miles from downtown and there's heavy damage downtown to office buildings, as emergency crews try to assist the injured.
We have no report yet on the number of injured people, just that there are numerous injuries ...
Well, we're hearing reports that there are people down on the ground. People walking around with cuts, bleeding from the glass that was blown out of the building when the explosion occurred. I can see fires on the ground. Emergency crews are responding. And the debris has completely covered the street. It has blown from downtown, north across the street ... and, uh, it's totally devastating as one-third of the building ...
It looks like something you see on the evening news in Europe, maybe in Bosnia where a shelling would occur. Obviously, no shelling here, but some type of explosion, but very powerful to take out that much of the building ...
We're getting calls from towns all around who have said they felt something, they want to know what's going on.
That's why we're staying with you live. We want to get injury information to you just as soon as possible.
... I'm at Northwest Fourth and Harvey and this is like a sight out of a war zone. It is absolutely incredible.
They are bringing people out of the A.P. Murrah Federal Building, which is apparently where this explosion took place.
They are bringing people out that are just covered in blood.
Ambulance crews have been arriving for the last 10 minutes and they're going into the building.
Apparently, other employees, who are ... were not injured are helping their co-workers out ...
... They're just ... they're covered in blood. All of the windows - I'm on the north side - are blown out.
There's a huge fire burning on the south side of the building. I came from up that way. The Water Resources Building, which is on the south side ... it also looks like it is damaged.
There is a very large fire. There is debris everywhere down here ... smoke billowing into the air. The, uh, large church at the corner of Fourth and Harvey ... all of the stained glass windows have been blown out of the east side of the building.
Also, there's a high-rise building ... an apartment complex just west of where this explosion took place. All of the windows are broken out of that.
I was down at the police station when this exploded and we thought our building had been hit. The ceiling tiles lifted and dropped and the whole building was shaking. ...
Tammy, you can see the Alfred Murrah Building, what's left of the Alfred Murrah Building, these dramatic pictures coming from Barry Levy's camera.
All around us, there are dazed people. Some with blood, some their shirts are hanging off of them, glass, debris everywhere, fires burning in the parking lot.
The police and emergency crews talking about moving us back because of the danger of the possibility of another explosion.
The devastation at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, uh, ... appears to be almost total.
There are emergency crews responding from everywhere.
As Barry and I were driving up, there's glass blown out of virtually every building downtown.
There's also heavy damage at many of the other buildings here in the downtown area, some structural damage perhaps.
It is obviously a disaster of major proportions here in Oklahoma City.
Numerous injuries and obviously by the looks of the Murrah Building ... numerous fatalities, Tammy.
The Murrah Federal Building blew up at 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995. KWTV began coverage at 9:04 a.m. Almost immediately, pictures of the catastrophe were uplinked via KWTV's stationary uplink. Several affiliates of other networks asked permission to downlink the signal and KWTV complied. Station managers said they felt that in covering a news event of this magnitude, there was no room for a competitive stance.
Within an hour of coverage, reporters ascertained it had been a bomb that caused the damage. Live pictures and unedited tape aired as anchors cautioned viewers of the bloody scenes they would see. KWTV officials said there never was a question about continuous coverage or whether commercials should be pre-empted during the days of coverage that followed. From Wednesday morning at 9:04 a.m. until Sunday at 8 p.m., no regularly scheduled program or commercial aired.
For the next year KWTV's coverage continued. The story spread across the United States and to Europe, and KWTV staff members were there with the hunt for suspects. As community needs became apparent, the station responded with a hotline putting viewers in touch with psychological counseling, by setting up a clearinghouse for viewers to donate supplies needed by rescue workers, creating children's programming to answer questions, and celebrating the lives of the victims through individual profiles. In addition, a senior reporter has been assigned to investigate what the station is calling "U.S. of Anger" - people throughout the country who hold anti-government views.
Most of the staff members at the locally owned and operated station are Oklahoma natives. They feel their coverage reflected the strong connection they have with their community, but they maintained their professionalism throughout. While most catastrophes have some kind of ending, this one does not. Stages of grief, anger and seemingly no end to its effects make continuing coverage difficult, the staff says.
KWTV staffers say this tragedy reminded them of the important communciation link television provides not only during an emergency, but during the healing processes the community moves through following such a catastrophic event.
Danielle Gordon, The Chicago Reporter, The Wrong Side of the Track
Security at the track is tight. About 20 Arlington and five Racing Board guards are always on the backstretch, according to Dan Martinez, the board's director of security.
Workers interviewed by The Reporter complained about the guards' intrusiveness.
"There are times even at 10 (p.m.) that the security guards patrol and knock, and if you don't open the door, they open it - they have a key," according to Miguel, a 36-year-old groom who shares his room with his wife and three children.
The isolation of the backstretch was interrupted in August, when a rare strain of dysentery broke out in two of the dorms. The 17 infected included 15 children under age 6.
"Conditions in backstretch dorms and backstretch areas contributed to the problem," said Tom Oas, director of health services for the Village of Arlington Heights.
The outbreak occurred in two of the older dormitories. One of these dorms generally houses families. That dorm, built in 1975, has 127 rooms which are 142 square feet each. The other dorm, one of two built in 1972, has rooms measuring 100 square feet.
"The Wrong Side of the Tracks" exposed living conditions for workers at the Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, a Chicago suburb.
It came at a time when Illinois lawmakers were considering changes in the state laws that help racetrack owners compete with the state's burgeoning casino industry.
The Reporter staff said its investigation found that an estimated 1,500 workers and their families were living in unsanitary conditions on Arlington's backstretch. The families stay in cramped rooms in concrete-block dormitories with no kitchens and communal bathrooms. Track and government officials took little action even after a rare form of dysentery broke out in the dorms infecting 17 people, most of them children.
Danielle Gordon said she found two significant problems. First, the track is a private business that does not have to disclose its records. Second, most of the workers at the track are Latino immigrants who speak little English and are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.
Gordon said a number of clergy and social workers have fought for more than a decade to improve the backstretch, but The Reporters investigation connecting the backstretch to some of the "favors" the track wanted from the state captured the attention of the Governor's Task Force on Horse Racing and the state legislature.
The Illinois General Assembly approved and Gov. Jim Edgar signed reforms mandating major improvements to the backstretch.
The bill's sponsor, state Sen. John Cullerton of Chicago said, "If [The Reporter] hadn't written the story, it wouldn't have come to the attention of the task force."
Deborah Blum, Anne Chadwick Williams, Bill Enfield, Rick Shaw, Marjie Lundstrom, The Sacramento Bee, Only Human
Out of the depths of the Agent Orange studies, meant to explore only Vietnam veterans' health, a small group of scientists has drawn conclusions that military researchers never expected - nor wanted - to see.
For instance, that African-Americans are predisposed to violence.
Most biologists regard that idea as wildly out of sync with any story the data actually tells. But its supporters - researchers dedicated to emphasizing racial differences - continue to spread the word.
They've proved, if nothing else, that even data drawn out of an appendix (as these were) can be incendiary. More than that, they offer a true cautionary tale about accepting scientific research too easily.
There are times when the facts behind the study are the most revealing: who the scientists are, their chosen methods, and, perhaps most importantly, their reasons for doing the work at all.
"It became clear from covering science meetings, that there was a tide of behavioral biology rising. And that scientists were privately, if not publicly, alarmed by its potential to do political harm. It was that awareness that prompted us to launch a series that would both detail the science and investigate its political implications." - Deborah Blum, science writer
"Behavioral biology is an enormously broad and diverse field. So our first difficulty was narrowing our focus, picking the aspects that represented the most important parts of the field. Once we had chosen the focus, it became clear that the research was often extremely controversial, more than that, with real potential to hurt people. The next decision - how to focus the stories on gender differences or the debate over race biology - involved discussions, and detailed and in-depth interviews in order to create stories that would inform in a fair and balanced way." - Bill Enfield, project editor
"I rewrote and rewrote this project to the point of frustration. Behavioral biology is a scientifically complex and technical subject. We set - and I credit my editors for this - extremely high standards for how it should be written. We wanted it to be scientifically accurate and vivid at the same time. To be balanced and yet capture all the tensions and drama of the field. Getting there was as tough a writing challenge as I've ever had. The story that I almost abandoned was the main story on race biology. It examines the way prejudice can infiltrate science, looking at a group of researchers determined to prove that blacks are genetically inferior. It debunks their work. But to write it, I first had to explain what they do believe. It was surprisingly hard to get those words down. The first two times I wrote the story, I backed into the lead. My editors, led by Executive Editor Gregory Favre, just kept returning it until I wrote it right." - Blum
"We believed from the conception of Deborah's idea to explore human behavior that it had enormous potential to help our readers understand themselves. Deborah's brilliant work made it succeed beyond our expectations. The reaction we have received indicates that the many questions she raised and answered increased the knowledge that each one of us has about our own behavior." - Gregory Favre, executive editor
"It's important to science coverage to bridge the perceived gap between the research world and the 'real' one. This series accomplished that; it was exactly about how science is part of our lives." - Blum
Sharon Schmickle, Mike Kaszuba, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Where the Federal Bucks Stop in Anoka
They come by the thousands to watch the Tornadoes play football on Friday nights in Anoka, and the high school stadium along 5th Avenue is one of the many signs of just how good the federal government has been to the city.
Federal money built the stadium during the Depression, just as it built the bridge that carries traffic over the Rum River into downtown. Now it pays Mary Wellman, hired last year as Anoka's only female police officer.
The federal government serves lunch daily to Evalyn Sutherland and gives Robin Meredith money to attend the local technical college. It helps power the ambulances that take Anoka's sick to the hospital, subsidizes Jeanette Sailor's heating bill and hires teachers to help students who've fallen behind at the city's four elementary schools.
In ways big and small, and with a rhythm that goes back to the 1930s and the New Deal, federal money has flowed by the billions into Anoka. And the city - the seat of Anoka County and the hometown of Garrison Keillor and a Miss America - has grown used to it.
But the pattern of taking and giving will change as a Republican-controlled Congress works to end an era of a government that has been cast as too expensive, too unwieldy and too generous.
"This was an attempt to bring down to a personal level the debate in Washington over extremely intricate financial and policy issues. We felt that to too many people sitting at home in front of a TV, or with their morning papers, the issues were overwhelming. We wanted to bridge that, and tell the story in ways they could understand and from places they would recognize." -Mike Kaszuba, suburban affairs reporter
"Call it the Beltway mentality or loss of trust in government or voter funk or whatever you like. There is a common sense that America and Washington have somehow lost contact with each other. It goes beyond philosophical arguments over the proper size of the government to sometimes cloud the country's ability to decide policy. As a congressional correspondent and a veteran suburban reporter, we found ways to effectively bridge the gulf, to show the intricate links between the two Americas that we cover. That was very pleasing." - Sharon Schmickle, Washington bureau chief
"We began working on the story in early September, and the first story appeared the last Sunday in October. The two subsequent stories appeared in early and mid-December. Since we were looking at the history of the federal government's ties to Anoka, our initial story went back to the beginnings of the New Deal when federal dollars first began arriving in towns such as this one in a big way. Our second story, in sports, relied on research that predated the New Deal." - Kaszuba
"We knew it would be a challenge to break down the exchange of dollars between the federal government and Anoka residents. But we underestimated the degree of difficulty. On the one extreme, we arranged for special computer analysis of social service records held at the state and county levels. On the other, we traced the dollars to Anoka the old-fashioned way by combing through lists from small business loans to National Guard duty rosters. Either way, it was tedious, complicated work." - Schmickle
"In simple terms, we brought the headlines from Washington home to Main Street. We put faces on the programs that would be impacted, and we showed how what happens in Congress winds its way into a particular home, a particular job and a particular life.' - Kaszuba
David Rohde, Faye Bowers, Clayton Jones, The Christian Science Monitor, Coverage of Bosnia
August 18, 1995
An on-the-spot investigation by The Christian Science Monitor has uncovered strong evidence that a massacre of Bosnian Muslim prisoners took place last month.
A Monitor reporter, traveling without the permission of rebel Bosnian Serbs, looked into charges by American officials that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Muslims were killed by the Serbs after they overran two UN-protected "safe areas."
The Serbs deny the U.S. charges, which were based on spy-satellite photos.
The visit by this reporter was the first by a Western journalist to the sites of the alleged atrocities near the former safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa. The physical evidence was grim and convincing:
* At one site shown in the spy photos, this reporter saw what appeared to be a decomposing human leg protruding from the freshly turned dirt.
* Large, empty ammunition boxes littered the open fields where the ground recently had been dug.
* Diplomas, photos, and other personal effects of Srebenica Muslims were scattered near the areas of disturbed earth.
* At a soccer stadium in a nearby town, human feces, blood, and other evidence indicated large numbers of persons were confined, and perhaps shot.
UN officials estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 Muslim men are still missing in the wake of the Srebrenica and Zepa assaults. So far, there is little indication that these men are being held prisoner. Dozens of local Bosnian Serb civilians and soldiers, most of them unaware they were speaking to a foreign journalist's translator, said they had heard nothing about a large group of captives from the former enclaves.
October 2, 1995
Bosnian Serb soldiers systematically executed as many as 2,000 Muslim prisoners after taking the UN "safe area" of Srebrenica in July, according to credible eyewitness accounts newly obtained by The Christian Science Monitor. Nine Muslim men who say they are survivors of mass executions gave separate, corroborating accounts of what could be one of the greatest single war crimes of Bosnia's brutal 3 1/2-year conflict. Executing prisoners is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention.
In interviews that were conducted without the supervision of the Bosnian government, the nine men gave compelling accounts of mass executions in five locations.
A pattern of hundreds of Muslim soldiers and male civilians being taken to the Serb-held villages of Nova Kasaba, Kravica, and Bratunac - near Srebrenica - on July 13 emerged from the accounts. Last month, The Monitor uncovered evidence that a mass grave containing hundreds of bodies exists in Nova Kasaba.
The largest execution appears to have occurred near Karakaj. Up to 2,000 prisoners were taken from the three villages to a remote location near the Serb-held town, 25 miles northwest of Srebrenica, and executed on July 14, according to survivors.
October 24, 1995
Bosnian Serb forces may have poisoned local water supplies to help capture Muslim men fleeing Srebrenica last July, according to credible eyewitness accounts obtained by The Christian Science Monitor.
Seven Muslim men from the fallen UN "safe area" said they became temporarily deranged or saw groups of men become deranged after they drank water from a stream near the town of Konjevic Polje.
Senior UN military officials said Serb forces have poisoned wells in the past, and diluted poisons could produce such effects. But they are skeptical that poison was used.
"We've had a number of reports of the Serbs using chemical weapons, but it's always been unproven," says a UN official, "although contaminating small amounts of water is possible."
November 16, 1995
From 100 yards away, the freshly turned earth of the field appeared to be covered with haphazard dots. Five feet away, the dots became empty shoes, shattered eyeglasses, and decaying clothing.
In the woods nearby, three canes and a crutch jutted from a mildewing heap of more than 100 windbreakers, sweatshirts, and leather jackets. No evidence of battles having been fought was found.
The forlorn debris and areas of fresh digging, discovered by the Monitor on October 29, are the most specific and convincing evidence yet that Bosnian Serb forces massacred thousands of Muslim civilians - including the elderly and crippled - after the fall of the UN "safe area" of Srebrenica.
Bosnian Serbs say no massacres occurred and the graves are filled with Muslim soldiers killed in combat. But the crutch that was found is something no combatant would lean on. The three wooden canes are supports no soldiers would need.
The Monitor has visited four of six possible mass grave sites identified by US spy planes and satellites around the fallen Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. At each site, human remains, documents from Srebrenica, Muslim identity cards, personal photos with Muslim names on them, or civilian clothing have been found.
Europe's worst massacre of civilians since World War II was apparently carried out with brutal efficiency on the nights of July 14, 15, and 16, as nine survivors interviewed by the Monitor in September say it did. Bosnian Serb Military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic, whom eyewitnesses place at this and three other execution sites, apparently ordered the cold-blooded executions of as many as 5,000 Muslim prisoners.
Monitor Editor David Cook tells the story of this coverage: David Rohde uncovered the first on-the-ground evidence of the largest massacre in Europe since the Holocaust as part of his aggressive, compelling, and insightful daily coverage of the former Yugoslavia during 1995. He investigated the tales of unprecedented mass executions of Muslims, sensing a great and unreported tragedy had taken place. When the Clinton administration released satellite photos on Aug. 10 showing two suspected mass grave sites, that limited information was enough for Rohde to dig deeper.
Six days later, he entered Bosnian Serb territory and with the help of a local translator talked authorities into allowing him to travel without a minder. Avoiding Serb soldiers and police, Rohde became the first Westerner to freely inspect the Srebenica area since its fall. Using only a blurry, faxed copy of a satellite photo, he found the graves and collected the first on-site evidence of the mass executions.
In September, he spent two weeks in Muslim-held territory searching dozens of villages and refugee camps housing the 30,000 people who escaped the fallen enclave. Bosnian government police detained Rohde four times for entering the camps and questioning survivors.
But Rohde found nine credible survivors of the executions and persuaded them to reveal for the first time the scope of the massacres and Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic's role in overseeing them.
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic had been blocking Tribunal investigators and journalists from entering the Srebrenica area without minders. Rohde had been barred from Bosnian Serb territory for his earlier Srebrenica stories. Confronted by crimes not seen in Europe since the Holocaust, proof that evidence was being destroyed, and continued Serb intransigence, Rohde decided the only way to get to the graves was to change the date on one of his expired Bosnian Serb seven-day press passes.
On October 29, Rohde re-entered Bosnian Serb territory, made it through checkpoints, and found two more grave sites - corroborating the accounts of five survivors he had interviewed. Just before taking photos of human bones at the second site, he was arrested at gun-point by a Bosnian Serb watchman.
Rhode was jailed for 10 days and threatened with an espionage charge that carried a sentence of 10 years to death. U.S. officials decried Rohde's detention and said Karadzic's press office - run by his daughter - had no right to restrict journalists' access to the Srebrenica area.
Richard E. Meyer, Los Angeles Times, It's An Incredible Life
Julia turned left along an open balcony, which served as the upstairs hallway. She would go down to the bathroom, get the aspirins, then come back to the bedroom and check on Judy. Suddenly Julia's vision fractured. She grabbed the balcony railing. Her head hurt worse than it ever had before. She walked slower, and things grew foggy. Judy (her daughter) cried louder. Julia felt her legs weaken. The walls and the ceiling began to move. Her knees buckled. Her vision dimmed, and then she fell.
She sprawled on the gold carpet, too scared to scream. Her head was heavy. It hurt so much that she had a crazy thought: Someone had parked a car on it. She could no longer see. She was afraid that she might be dying. She thought about the baby; Judy was still crying. Julia felt the family dog lie down beside her. The dog's fur was warm. Her nose was cold. She whined softly. Judy's cries grew faint. Now Julia could not feel. She could not hear. Her last thought was: "Baby, stop crying."
For Julia Tavalaro, 31, blond, striking and full of life, it was the start of a nightmare rare in American, perhaps the world. She was having a stroke. Within days she suffered a second one. Then, for six years, at best estimate, she lived what others know only in the terror of their dreams. She regained consciousness, but no one noticed. Worse, she was paralyzed, and she was mute. She had no way to let anyone know that she was there, inside. She was aware, but she was trapped, locked in. She was buried alive.
Richard (Rick) Meyer, national correspondent for the Times, describes his work: "This is the chilling profile of a woman and her desperate six-year effort to break through to the outside world and let people know that she was aware after two strokes left her paralyzed and mute.
"I saw a local column about Julia Tavalaro in The New York Times. Because the writer was a columnist, he had only a few hundred words to devote to her story. It struck me that Julia and what had happened to her were worth far more than that. So I proposed a full-blown piece about her to Mike Miller, our national editor.
"The proposal was unconventional, given Julia's inability to talk. Moreover, it seemed to be fairly risky. Would she have the memory for detail that such a lengthy piece required? Would she endure my endless questions? In the middle of everything, would she have one of her too-frequent bouts of pneumonia? Would the entire effort have to be scrubbed after weeks, maybe months of work? Mike, nonetheless, approved the proposal instantly ... Julia, too, agreed without hesitation."
What was the most difficult aspect of this work?
"Getting through the hard times - when Julia became ill, for instance, and when her hospital could not come up with all of her medical records, and when the hospital refused to let her doctors talk to me. Julia, however, was terrific. Never have I encountered such a patient, generous and giving subject.
"First, the story gave Julia voice. Second, it showed what can happen when caregivers do not pay proper attention to their patients [at least one hospital has made the story part of its required reading for nursing students]. Third, the story parted the curtains a bit on human nature. It showed the shape of genuine despair, and it showed the kind of courage that a remarkable woman named Julia Tavalaro summoned in spite of everything.
"Never have I gotten so many calls and letter because of a story. Ten or 11 movie people, some with the major studios, have been in touch. All want to make a picture of Julia's life. If someone does, Julia might see enough money to make her dream come true. She wants very much to move out of that hospital, which has been victimized by brutal government budget cuts against the helpless that are so in vogue. She would like instead to live on her own or in a private place with the kind of care she needs."
NEWSPAPERS/WIRE SERVICES (circulation more than 100,000)
Susan Kelleher, Kim Christensen, Michelle Nicolosi, David Parrish, Ernie Slone, John Doussard, Jim Mulvaney, Terry Wimmet, The Orange County Register, Fertility Fraud
The head of the internationally acclaimed UCI fertility clinic harvested eggs from an Orange County woman without her consent and gave them to another patient who delivered a baby boy about nine months later, according to medical records and interviews.
Photocopied records obtained by The Orange County Register track the 1991 harvesting of three eggs by Dr. Ricardo H. Asch, who designated them be implanted as embryos into a second patient at the University of California, Irvine, Center for Reproductive Health.
"If those allegations hold up, they would be the most serious violation of ethical trust that I am aware of in the field of reproductive technology," said Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of biomedical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania.
"There may be worse things that one could do in operating a fertility clinic, but I don't know what they are."
The center, where women from around the world have paid tens of thousands of dollars for the help of Asch and his team of specialists, is the focus of investigations by the university, state, and federal authorities for alleged research misconduct by doctors there.
But the allegations of misuse of eggs resulting in a live birth presents profound new legal and ethical implications, experts say.
Reporters and editors of The Orange County Register tell how the work was done:
Like most good investigations, this one came from a whispered tip during a routine beat check. ... And, like most good investigations, it at first seemed an impossible story to prove and get into print.
The crime was unprecedented. The internationally famous doctors were revered by colleagues and patients. The protective curtain of patient confidentiality and medical collegiality seemed impenetrable. Former employees had signed confidentiality agreements, and none of the victimized women had any idea their eggs had been stolen.
We dug deep and obtained records that documented the theft. Beyond that, we discovered a massive cover-up by the vaunted University of California, Irvine that ranged from physical intimidation of hospital employees to the payment of nearly $1 million in hush money to whistle-blowers. Every word was on the record.
The unprecedented nature of the crimes also opened unprecedented journalistic problems. Our reporters had evidence that stolen eggs resulted in live births. We also knew that the women didn't know their eggs had been stolen and that the women who gave birth didn't know they had been implanted with stolen eggs. All of the patients had spent tens of thousands of dollars in desperate attempts to conceive. When we knocked on patients' doors and presented our evidence, it would change their lives forever. We enlisted an ethicist to help us develop a humane strategy for contacting and questioning them.
The parallel track of the story was the university cover-up. We persuaded state officials to overrule the university and overturn government confidentiality agreements that had silenced whistle-blowers. At one point, when we reported that newly obtained records doubled the scale of the scandal, the university called us liars. Two days later they admitted they had the same records all along, blaming a lawyer for misplacing them.
All told, we wrote more than 230 stories, not only furthering the investigation but putting the revelations into context, explaining the science, ethics, and law of the fertility industry.
As a result of our investigations, the American Medical Association announced plans to rewrite its fertility regulations; the leading group of fertility doctors - the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology - -called for an outside agency to license fertility clinics, a first in its 51-year history. The U.S. attorney for Los Angeles has empaneled a grand jury and launched a multi-agency investigation, two of the three doctors have fled the country, and more than 14 patients have filed suit.
The internal debate about the ethics of how we did our job was outstanding. The depth of the story came from old-fashioned beat reporting, finding and cultivating sources, understanding the science and the technology. The beginning of this story was a jigsaw puzzle. One single piece made little sense until it could be tied in to another. Reporter Susan Kelleher and her editor, Terry Wimmer, spent many evenings early in the investigation walking streets in Laguna Beach discussing the what-ifs of this story. That reporter-editor relationship was essential to the growth of the story.
George Bauer, Steven Rosenfeld, Monitor Radio, Money and Politics
Two centuries ago, James Madison in the Federalist Papers asked who should elect representatives to Congress. Then he answered his own query: "... not the rich more than the poor, not the learned more than the ignorant." That became one of the guiding declarations that was cited over the decades as the right to vote was extended to former slaves, women, and others. American history has also seen the gradual removal of barriers facing candidates, including the Supreme Court's striking down poll taxes and high filing fees more than ever, with incumbents winning nine times out of 10 (even in the Republican's 1994 takeover), and with record numbers of people not voting, many politicians and scholars are saying that American elections are in deep trouble. In our continuing series of reports on "Money and Politics," we go to New York City where a lawsuit brought by a former congressional candidate and a team of activist lawyers is seeking to declare the federal election system unconstitutional. They say the need for large amounts of private money in today's campaigns is a barrier, as race was in the Old South. And they're hoping the courts will step in where Congress has not. Steve Rosenfeld reports. ...
In 1992, New York City Councilman Sal Albanese challenged Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari in a district which covers Staten Island and the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. Though he's run for office before, Albanese says this particular race demonstrated what money means in campaigns.
Albanese: The real awakening came when I ran for Congress because it was the first race that I entered that you needed big money. We're talking half-a-million dollars to $750,000 to be competitive in a congressional race, because you need television, you need radio, you need mass media, you need people to run the campaigns.
Councilman Albanese and Congresswoman Molinari each raised about $90,000 in contributions under the $200-per-individual-donor level. But the rest of their war chests came from political action committees and wealthy individuals. And it was here, Albanese says, that he hit a brick wall.
Albanese: I remember going to Washington as the Democratic nominee, meeting with different people. And they flat-out said, "Look, we are not interested in the issues. This is not about issues. Can you raise a million dollars?" That was it in a nutshell.
Albanese ended up raising and spending $267,000 ... half what Molinari brought in. But a quarter-of-a-million dollars wasn't enough, Albanese says, to buy television and radio ads to introduce himself to voters and speak on the issues. ... Albanese lost the election and remains a city councilman. Congresswoman Molinari is now in her fourth term. But last year, Albanese read a Yale Law Review article that put forth the idea that candidates like him were disadvantaged and usually losing elections because they couldn't raise enough money to run competitively. The authors, who claimed this was unconstitutional, call it the "wealth primary." ... Eventually, the councilman and 13 supporters - a bus driver, teacher, policeman, housewife, and others - sued the Federal Election Commission, Susan Molinari, and her re-election committee.
Producer Steven Rosenfeld explains how the series is done:
Our project is an ongoing series of reports on money and its influence on politics. It had become obvious to us that private money had gained undue influence not only over day-to-day campaigning for office, but also legislating and governing - significantly affecting the health of our democracy, often determining who can and can't become a player in the system.
We knew that campaigns have never been more expensive, that candidates spent upwards to half their time raising money - instead of talking to the public about issues and that public confidence in government was shrinking.
We set out to cover money and politics as a political culture beat. Our goal was to produce an ongoing series of reports that focused on the broader process rather than on the candidates and their sound bites.
What we found was that most aspects of running for office, as well as preparing bills for legislative debate, were in some way mediated by the need to raise and spend campaign money - or were dominated by those writing the checks. In our coverage, we tried to put microphones in the circles surrounding the candidates and officeholders and their aides to determine who participates in modern politics, how the officials spend their time as it relates to fund-raising, and what they think about the process.
The project became an ongoing series of reports on money and its influence on politics. Typically the pieces run five to seven minutes. There are two a month.
The most difficult aspect of this is getting public officials to speak honestly about what's going on. Usually, people running for office or the challengers, or their staff consultants - the overlooked people in campaigns - talk most candidly.
The response has been good. Some university educators have asked for scripts to use in their classes. Some grassroots activists have asked for scripts as well.
I think this kind of reporting contributes to a better public understanding of our political system and therefore becomes part of the pressure our elected officials feel to reform the system and make it more accountable. This is a national reporting beat. There are now money and politics reform activists working in more than 20 states. They are all doing follow-the-money work, analyzing the special favors in their locales and seeking ways to make their local or state governments more open to people with ideas, and more accountable to voters. This is an emerging issue, and in a sense, a classic journalistic beat, because it tries to look at what's not healthy about our political system and show what can be done about it.
Matt Meagher, Mary Van Horn, Charles R. Whitlock, Steve Shapiro, Robert Read, Mary Jo Ganun, Charles Lachman, Sheila Sitomer, Inside Edition, Medicare Kickbacks
This man brought us a brand new TV ... This woman handed us a hundred dollars in gift certificates. ... And this man offered to give us a computer system. NO. We didn't win the lottery. It's all bribes and kickbacks. ... and we found it to be alarmingly common in the huge business of Medicare. ... It's the most heated debate in the country today - how to preserve Medicare, the program that's been helping to care for American's senior citizens for 30 years. ... While Republicans and Democrats fight over drastic Medicare cutbacks, billions of dollars are being lost to fraud. ... To find out just how prevalent Medicare fraud is, we went to Houston, Texas, and set up offices in a nursing home - complete with hidden cameras. ... Our producer, Chuck Whitlock, posed as a businessman opening nursing homes in the area. He contacted local health care services to see just how far they would go to get our business. ... Immediately, more than half the companies offered some type of kickback to get access to Medicare patients. ... Our investigation found once companies start servicing Medicare patients, they can make huge profits through outrageous mark-ups and billing for unnecessary services among other things. And we're all helping to pay for it.
Of all the companies we encountered, the most outrageous kickbacks came from this man. He's Sterlin Ross, the director of operations at ACS Ambulance Services. ... So why would this ambulance company offer us large screen TVs, stereos, wheelchairs, turkeys, and so-called complimentary funding? Because the way Medicare operates, if we were really opening a nursing home, we could be another pot of gold at the end of their rainbow. ... $360,000 a year to take one patient to and from a dialysis center. Now you know why some companies will do almost anything to get Medicare patients. ... And look at this patient we saw walking to an ACS ambulance. We don't know the particulars of this man's condition, but it appears as though he could easily have taken a cab. ... A taxi ride which we took for about $8. What does ACS bill Medicare? Up to $600 each way. ... And what's this? It's the TV ACS Ambulance is bringing us as a bribe to start getting our Medicare business. They told us there was an unlimited supply of large screen TVs. The salesman brought the company vice-president to sign the deal."
We were looking into problems in home health care when we heard stories of outrageous kickbacks being offered to nursing home administrators by health care companies who wanted access to Medicare patients. We discovered some ambulance services, medical suppliers, and clinical laboratories which were operating in similar fashions - offering anything from gift certificates to cash and television sets in order to be able to bill the government for lucrative services to Medicare patients," explained Mary Van Horn.
"While the spotlight was on the congressional debates about slicing Medicare benefits to seniors, we realized that no one had fully investigated the issue of Medicare kickbacks at the nursing home administrative level," added Charles Whitlock.
"Our report shows how an already stretched Medicare system has been compromised by fraud," said Matt Meagher. "It distinctly shows the outrageous lengths that some health care providers will go to get Medicare business."
The most difficult aspect of the project was "finding a nursing home with a good reputation, willing to let us use its facility and allow us to set up hidden cameras," according to Van Horn. "One angry health care provider nearly ran our crew off the road after they learned that their actions had been exposed."
Meagher said they felt it was "vital to expose the cozy relationships that exist between Medicare providers and some nursing homes. Most consumers have no idea that the net effect of this activity causes compromised medical care and costs American taxpayers billions each year."
"We were amazed at how quickly some of the companies we contacted offered bribes and kickbacks for our fictitious Medicare patients," Van Horn said. "We knew early on that this story was important because the abuse appeared to be pervasive."
Inside Edition received calls from many people including hospital administrators, district attorneys, and senior citizens.
"People were generally shocked. Most Americans had no idea how pervasive Medicare fraud has become," Whitlock said.
"I think we took a very complex subject, and with the help of hidden cameras and expert sources, showed how prevalent and damaging this type of fraud can be," Meagher said. "We were cautious with our use of the hidden camera, but I think this is one instance where the cameras clearly made the reporting of the story more effective."
The Inside Edition team is following up on a number of leads and the story caught the eye of lawmakers.
"It shed significant light on a national disgrace. A number of congressmen have referred to the story in their efforts to pass legislation protecting Medicare benefits and regulate nursing home contracts," Whitlock said. "Hopefully, more investigators are being hired to look into questionable administration practices in nursing homes."
Wm. Pitzer, PitzoGraphics, Building the Bomb
"I wanted to find an opportunity to expand on a concept I have of doing serialized graphic presentations in the daily newspaper," explained Wm. Pitzer "The 50th anniversary of the end of WWII seemed to be a good time to take a visual look back at the building of the first atomic bombs. I also wanted, by making use of the serial, to bring us forward through time and end the series by taking a look at nuclear fear and the current status of nuclear weapons."
Building the Bomb was conceived and designed to run as a seven-part daily serial, with Part 5, Hiroshma - The Death and Terror of Nuclear War, published on Sunday, August 6, 1995. Hundreds of hours were put into research using original documents, interviews, photos, and graphics from government and military archives. Pitzer says three other people provided invaluable help: D.W. Welsh, who researched much of the information; John Brewer of The New York Times Syndicate, who helped to distribute the work; and Peter Trigg, who posed electronic versions on the Internet and on News-Com.
"The researcher also drew from face-to-face interviews with some of the principals involved at Los Alamos and double-checked details in the graphics with the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum," Pitzer explained. "These graphics are unique in their form and design and also offer the first accurate illustrations of Fermi's reactor and the pressure device used at Hiroshima to measure the blast. The graphics sought to present the facts and physics of the bomb's development, the military and political reasons for its use, and the sobering aftermath of the Nuclear Age."
Pitzer said scaling down the effort to a manageable size was the most difficult aspect for him.
"The design approach was to offer richly detailed graphics, multilayered with data, but with an economy of means," he said. "You can utilize the panels on several layers. Reading the headline, main text and looking at the main visuals offers one layer of data. Reading the secondary text and the larger secondary graphics gives another, then going further and reading the small text and supplemental graphics offers even more.
"Just getting it done was gratifying, but I think it shows that graphic reporting should be accorded the time and space that newspapers consistently supply to text and photos. And that the concept of a graphics serial is a very efficient means to that end."
Pitzer's father, W.H. Pitzer, was a Marine in the Pacific during World War II. Wm. Pitzer served in the Air Force in the early 1970s, stationed in the underground command post of the Strategic Air Command.
"My father's and my own military experience span the bulk of the nuclear age," Pitzer observed. "And so do the echoes from Trinity, Hiroshima, Nagasaki. We cannot go back. We cannot uninvent the atomic bomb, and from the '50s the hydrogen bomb. We now must seek to secure the dismantled weapons of the 1990s from falling into the hands of those who would use them as elements of terrorism."
Mark Hunter, Three articles on investigative reporting in France
Nor did the press take note of a key moment in the trial testimony of [former Director of the Museums of France] Hubert Landais. The presiding judge, having accurately noted that Landais disposed in 1985 of no legal means to obtain Suzanne de Canson's stolen Murillo [painting] from Christie's, asked: "Did you have other means?" Landais, clearly agonized by the question, replied: "Yes." The logical implication was that these "other means" were illegal. But no one, including reporters, questioned Landais as to what those means might be.
It is difficult not to see a moral imposture in the performance of the French press at this trial. With few exceptions, the reporters present sought to expedite a preconceived judgment, rather than to explore the gaps in the evidence. In the end, Joelle Pesnel was found guilty of the fatal sequestration of Suzanne de Canson and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Her accomplice, Robert Boissonnet, was convicted of forgery and abuse of confidence, and sentenced to four years of prison. The official version of the facts - that Pesnel and Boissonnet had acted alone, and that the involvement of more prominent, public figures was only incidental - had been amplified and confirmed by the tribunal and the news media.
Mark Hunter is a freelance journalist, doctor of information sciences; adjunct assistant professor, American University of Paris. His award-winning entry is based on three works: (1) "The Canson Affair" is excerpted and translated from Aspects du journalisme d'investigation: Psychologie, methodologie et strategies narratives de trois enquetes europeens, Universite de Paris II, 1995; (2) "The Rise of the Fouille-Merdes" appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, (3) "A Tale of Two Countries" appeared in IRE Journal.
"My scholarly and investigative work are part of the same project," Hunter said. He explains it this way:
* To combine the methodological innovations of post-Watergate American investigative reportage and the reportorial/stylistic devices of the New Journalism.
* To demonstrate that investigative reportage is also a literary genre, involving narrative principles as well as the search for information.
* To make other reporters and scholars aware that an authentic journalistic revolution, comparable to Watergate, has taken place in France since 1985.
"The idea for this case study came out of my book on the Canson Affair," Hunter explained. "I discovered the case when it broke in Le Monde in the fall of 1988. But the French press dropped it at the beginning of 1989, as other scandals involving the power broke, and I was alone with the story for the next few years."
"While investigating the case - it involved a murder in which the Louvre museum and the Ministry of culture, as well as friends of then-President Francois Mitterrand, were implicated - I compiled a huge amount of material on the role of the press.
"I decided to incorporate it into my dissertation, for a simple reason: Having discovered the undertow of the Canson Affair, I could deduce the methods, successes and failures of my colleagues in the French press, and compare them to my own. I had a rare opportunity to analyze a case in which I was myself one of the principal reporters."
Hunter found that his most difficult challenge was cultural.
"I had to shed my presumptions about French journalism, and immerse myself in a very different set of conditions and laws. It was also difficult to criticize reporters whose work I admire, notably Edwy Plenel," Hunter explained. "Though Plenel agreed to be interviewed for my book on the Canson Affair, he was shocked when it came time to verify and fact-check the material. Like a lot of investigators, he isn't used to being investigated himself. Fortunately for me, he is a deeply honest man and reporter, and did not object to publication."
Hunter's book on the Canson Affair, which was the genesis for this case study, generated about 100 reviews in the media. He now lectures regularly on American investigative methods to professionals at the Centre du Perfectionnement des Journalistes in Paris.
He plans to continue practicing and analyzing investigative reportage. Hunter credits Francis Balle, professor des universites, with starting him on research in journalism.
"This guy's sympathy for a reporter enabled me to study my own profession and understand my work as a reporter in a new and wonderful way," Hunter said.
Hunter also said he is gratified to see that the revolution in French journalism has been recognized in this country.
"I have learned a huge amount from its leaders... These people changed my life and my view of my profession, and I think it's fitting that they be recognized outside France. It is also hugely satisfying that I have been accepted as part of this movement," he said. "My career began in the post-Watergate revolution, and once again I have had the pleasure of sharing in one of those moments when reporters write a page of history."
The staff of The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, The Oklahoma City bombing
Oklahoma City will never be the same.
This is a place, after all, where terrorists don't venture. The heartland, people kept saying. Car bombs don't kill children here.
Wednesday changed everything. In an explosion felt at least 15 miles away, the fresh, innocent morning turned to horror. In five seconds, witnesses said, floors at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building "cascaded on top of each other."
Those there drew all kinds of initial conclusions: A plane crashed. An earthquake hit. Armageddon.
Once the smoke cleared, even hard-core police and rescue workers were stunned. Hundreds injured, many dead. Worse, as those dazed and wandering downtown Wednesday kept saying, there were children killed.
With each victim hauled out on a gurney, panicked relatives craned their necks in hopes of recognition. At nearby hospitals, parents taped the names of their children on themselves, so they could quickly be found when a child appeared.
The bomb caused a crater 20 feet wide and 8 feet deep in front of the federal building. The explosion welded parked cars together.
Streets resembled Bosnia or Beirut, not Oklahoma City. They were covered in glass, paperwork, bent pieces of metal that once made sense.
"It's one thing, of course, to cover a big story that unfolds into new dramas every day. It's another to cover a big story that is packed with emotion so deep and raw that it takes every ounce of sensibility to keep doing your job as you know you must. Many of these people who died were much like us: They were servants, of the government variety, who believed in the public well-being. They lived good and useful lives. The children who died alongside them had as much potential as well.
"That's why we grieved, openly in some ways, as even the most seasoned and hardened among us struggled to find a way to keep going through the long hours that stretched into longer days. If there is one image I will take from the events of April 19 and beyond, it is that of journalists in this department wiping away tears and clearing their throats, then pushing forth to report, write, photograph, edit, and create. In a way, I wish readers, who in other times are so critical of our profession, could have seen what I did. On the other hand, one could say that they really did see it first hand, through powerful, precise stories, headlines, photographs and graphics that were written and developed from the collective soul of this newsroom," wrote Managing Editor Ed Kelley in a May 10 memo to the staff.
"The work is the combined effort of about 150 people trying to tell a story of one of the most devastating events in U.S. history. We not only wanted to tell the story accurately but provide information that would assist our readers so they could help the victims and their families. The public sometimes questions whether journalists care about their community. The depth of our bombing coverage the way it was handled, and its quality showed that the newsroom cared about every story that appeared in The Oklahoman," aid Joe Hight, assistant managing editor.
"We had to get to the scene before police and other officials expanded the perimeter and closed useful access for photographs," said photographer Steve Sisney. "We knew to a man that this was the story of a lifetime - no one stood to the side, complained, or thought of themselves."
"Such a horrific act of terrorism had been committed in our own backyard and the bodies of our neighbors, friends and relatives - many of them children - littered the street in downtown Oklahoma City - and we had to swallow our emotions as best we could, and wade in and report the story," said City Editor Gene Triplett.
"Two weeks after the event, I watched a two- or three-year-old girl help plant a tree in honor of the victims. She childishly wanted to operate the shovel herself and took it, forcing her dad to the side," said Sisney. "My eyes filled with tears behind the viewfinder as she symbolically buried the horror while planting a living reminder at the same time. The little girl's mother was one of those who perished."
Knowing that they were helping residents was important to the staff.
"Our readers were able to help those in need after reading the stories and columns in The Oklahoman. For example, the state of Idaho adopted Jon-Michael Rigney after seeing stories in our newspaper. Jon-Michael is the son of Trudy Rigney, a single mother who was two weeks from graduation from the University of Oklahoma when she was killed in the bombing," said Hight.
Triplett remembered many times when the fatigue and unending repercussions of the bombing made many want to write about a garden show.
"Once we regain our composure we always remember that this story will never go away, at least not for those of us covering the news in Oklahoma," Triplett said. "We'll be doing follow-up on this one for decades to come."
RADIO SPOT NEWS
Doug Cummings, Dave Berner, Tom Johnson, Bob Roberts, Jim Gudas, Mike Doyle, John Pride, Tom Kneebone, Ken Herzlick, Bill Cameron, Jim Frank, WMAQ Radio, Chicago, Tragedy in Fox River Grove
Probably the first thing that I can say and the worst about this involves the parents. I've seen a number of parents of children who were on the bus walking from the scene after being told where the hospitals are where their children have been taken. As they've been walking away, the looks on their faces are just incredible, shock and terror, really. They don't know the shape that their kids are in. ... A witness here told me a few minutes ago that the scene within the last 15 minutes reminded him of Vietnam, with the helicopters landing all over the place and paramedics trying to treat as many people as they could.
Doug Cummings, first report from the scene
Although students are moving from class to class here, there is no teaching going on. Instead, the students are sharing memories and thoughts. Many students are seeking out counselors in the school library. So many are calling, asking to go home, that the school is providing cellular telephones.
Deborah Zopp drove up to pick up her son, Stephan, who knew some of the victims since kindergarten. She remembers Cub Scouts, and being den mother to one of the victims.
"What a spunky dude. He was just so ... just such a tighter. The whole idea that he gets run down like this without getting a fighting chance (tears) - it (sobs) kinda stinks."
Stephan says he just wants to go home and mourn by himself.
- Reporter Bob Roberts, at Cary-Grove High School
I can tell you absolutely that this is the most horrible feeling an engineer can have. You're absolutely helpless when you're at the throttle and you see something in front of you. You can see what's happening, you can apply the brakes, but there's no way you can take evasive action. You're confined to the tracks.
- Reporter Bob Roberts, also an amateur railroad engineer, speaking from the engineer's perspective about the seconds preceding a vehicle-train accident
At 7:11 a.m. on Wednesday, October 25, 1995, Union Pacific Railroad Northwest Line commuter train 624 slammed into a bus taking students to Cary-Grove High School. The impact occurred at an estimated speed of 60 miles an hour. The body of the bus ripped loose from the chassis. Four students died within minutes, a fifth within a couple of hours and two more the next day. More than 20 other students and the driver were injured.
WMAQ reporter/anchor Bob Roberts tells the story:
"You can plan all you want, but disasters defy planning. Timing is everything. Being able to deploy the right people to the right place at the right time is what made the difference.
"Dave Berner worked the story from his car as he sped toward Fox River Grove. Tom Johnson was positioned overhead in JetCopter 67 within 20 minutes of the accident. Doug Cummings, a full-time freelancer, lived closest to the scene. Bob Roberts also lives in the northern suburbs, is familiar as a transportation reporter with the area and issues involved, counts railroading as his hobby, and is an amateur railroad engineer. Bill Cameron worked the political angles of the story while the others worked phones from the office.
"It was a story in which it would have been easy just to focus on the carnage and the sounds of people in tears. WMAQ attempted to use the skills and expertise of its reporters to do much more. While paying close attention to the human angle, WMAQ also attempted to explain the technical issues involved, and how they may have helped precipitate the accident. Although we had the technical capability to air news conferences live, we didn't stop at that. We lined up the affected railroads, agencies and local officials for responses and analyzed what the NTSB's initial findings and its request for nationwide crossing inspections meant.
"The big challenge was to keep everyone focused and coordinated. WMAQ made the commitment within minutes to comprehensive coverage. ... After that, WMAQ settled into comprehensive reportage within our regular format. Editors and reporters listened to each other and helped plan coverage together.
"The story has continued to develop on several fronts. The question of railroad crossing safety is one WMAQ had addressed even before the Fox River Grove accident. We have put reporters on board Metra Commuter trains for a bird's-eye view of the problem. We have monitored the tests run on similar crossings, run numerous stories on the continuing controversies over train speeds and whistle requirements, and covered public hearings on crossing safety.
"Members of the public continue to be vocal on crossing safety issues, and our initial coverage made it clear both to the public and to officials that WMAQ should be notified when any such discussion takes place."
TELEVISION SPOT NEWS
Paul Schaefer, Chic Poppe, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, The Capture of a Suspected Serial Killer
Let's pick up the story at a roadblock set up in Waco, Kentucky, just about 10 miles outside Richmond. Watch him try and run this roadblock. (Sounds of gunshots and sirens) What you heard there was a trooper firing a shotgun at the tires of Glen Rogers' car. He ran the roadblock. They bracketed him. They put their cars on either side of him. We were following in our news van and one of those troopers' cars shoved him, rammed his car and shoved him off to the left side of the road on KY52WB. A moment later, guns drawn, troopers, a lot of them, rushed the car. Glen Rogers was an unwilling suspect. (Sounds as police throw Glen Rogers onto the ground.) They wrestled him out of the car. You see Glen Rogers on the ground. He was not hurt in any way, even though his car pretty violently left the road when troopers rammed if off. (Sound and shot of Rogers being cuffed.) What you are seeing here is a scene people around the country have been waiting to see for about three weeks now. A suspected serial killer in handcuffs, in police custody. In a moment you're going to hear videographer Chic Poppe ask him the question a lot of people want to ask him. (Chic: Where've you been hiding, Mr. Rogers? Where've you been? How many people have you killed, Mr. Rogers? How many people? Can you look at me, sir?) That was videographer Chic Poppe who was on top of this capture from minute one, asking Glen Rogers those questions. They put him in a trooper's car. A few minutes later, they transferred him to another car. I had a chance to ask him the same question once again. Listen (Paul: Glen, did you do this? Rogers: One-on-one, talk to me in person, alone. Paul: Did you do this, Glen? Did you kill those women, Glen? Glen, did you kill those women? Rogers: One on one alone. At the jail, you interview me. You hear me? Paul: Did you kill these women, Glen? Rogers: No.)
Jim Zarchin, news director of WCPO tells what happened:
"WCPO-TV was the only news team in the country to videotape the dangerous chase and dramatic capture of Glen Rogers, a man wanted for multiple murders across the country.
"Reporter Paul Schaefer and photographer Chic Poppe worked sources, played hunches and on their day off traveled to rural Kentucky to talk with a detective in the case... Within minutes, police were off on a high speed chase, and so were we. There was no time to plan, there was only time to react.
"It wasn't until the chase and capture were over, and the adrenaline had stopped pumping that Paul and Chic realized that they had been in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation. Keep in mind, the man the police were after had been accused of multiple murders, so he had little to lose.
"We were in the right place at the right time. But, this was more than a stroke of luck. We made our own breaks on this story. As police hunted for Rogers, we were the only station to talk with Rogers' mother and dig up leads on where he might be hiding.
"Chic has been a videographer for 32 years, Paul a reporter for 15 years, yet you never know how you will react when you are thrown into a situation like the Rogers capture. Chic and Paul reacted quickly and instinctively. They got the pictures the whole world wanted to see, and they asked the questions everyone wanted asked. All on gut instinct.
"Chic has been shooting news pictures for 32 years, 26 of those years at WCPO. He has seen everything. But, this was by far the most dramatic and frightening event he had ever witnessed.
"In our follow-up reports, we aired an exclusive phone conversation with the accused serial killer. From his jail cell, Glen Rogers described how he felt to hear his mother plea for him to surrender and what it was like to be the target of a police manhunt. We also went to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, to explore how they track serial killers, and what they learn about these people.
"The capture of Glen Rogers was an example of what television journalism does so well. WCPO was there, to capture the moment. Because of that, viewers got to look into the eyes of a suspected serial killer, the moment his chase ended, the moment he was handcuffed, the moment he was confronted with the question, 'Did you kill those women?'"
Bill Vitka, Robert Berger, Jesse Schulman, Dan Raviv, Rita Braver, David Jackson, Mark Knoller, Adam Raphael, Rob Armstrong, Kimberly Dozier, Donna Penyak, Charles Kaye, Greg Armstrong, Lisa Wolfson, Howard Arenstein, Dianne James, Deborah Riemer, John Davidson, Michael Donahue, Paul Farry, Roger Keithline, Bill Deane, Guy Campanile, Donna Hee, Matt Nelko, Shirley Lee, Vivian Llodra, Constance Lloyd, CBS News Radio, Continuous Live Coverage of the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
(NetALERT Sounder, then announcer): Now, direct from CBS News, this Special Report ..."
Bill Vitka: I'm Bill Vitka in New York. Shots were fired in Israel as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was leaving a pro-government demonstration. Israel radio says Rabin was hit by shots. With the latest in Jerusalem, newsman Robert Berger. Robert?
Robert Berger: Yes, Bill. Well, according to eyewitness accounts and also Israel radio quoting police sources, Prime Minister Rabin was getting into his car when shots rang out. Shots were fired at him from close range and he has been taken to a Tel Aviv hospital. A man has been taken into custody.
Robert Berger: Israel, Israel television has just confirmed that uh, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is, uh, dead. (pause)
David Jackson: Israel's second television channel is identifying the gunman as Yigal Amir, a law student at Bar-Ilan University, who had been involved in right-wing causes.
Dan Raviv: I've always had the sense that they've [the bodyguards] been on the lookout for the traditional attackers, for Arab gunmen, for bombs that might be set. And perhaps, well surely, less cautious when it comes to a crowd of Israelis.
President Clinton, live from the White House: The world has lost one of its greatest men - a warrior for his nation's freedom and now a martyr for his nation's peace ... Yitzhak Rabin was my partner and my friend. I admired him and I loved him very much. Shalom chaver. Goodbye friend.
Executive Producer Charles Kaye tells how the radio news organization responded:
"We learned on a Saturday afternoon, New York time, that Yitzhak Rabin had been shot while attending a rally in Tel Aviv. We quickly established our digital audio circuit to our Jerusalem bureau, and took air with a CBS News NetALERT Special Report, anchored from New York.
"Such broadcasts interrupt regularly scheduled programming on CBS Radio Network stations across the country. Our initial interrupt ran just a few minutes, reporting the facts as we then knew them. We signed off, and returned to the air a few moments later for an open-ended broadcast. Just minutes into the second report we learned that Rabin was dead. We decided to stay on the air as long as necessary to tell the story. That turned out to be nearly five hours.
"Because it was a weekend, staffing levels at CBS News headquarters in New York and at our domestic and foreign bureaus were not as high as they would be on a weekday. We started calling in people from home - or wherever we could find them on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
"Bill Vitka, who anchored the NetALERT, was just ending a nearly 10-hour day when the story broke. He stayed in the chair until we could get a freshly arrived correspondent, David Jackson, up to speed. Dave then replaced Bill at the anchor desk, working with Robert Berger, one of our resident reporters in Jerusalem.
"Jackson and Berger were soon joined by Dan Raviv, a Miami-based CBS News correspondent. Dan played a key role in the broadcast. Raviv spent years reporting from Israel until a story he did about the country's top-secret nuclear program hastened his departure. He is much sought after on the lecture circuit for his insight into Mideast developments and he recently co-authored a best-selling book about the Israeli security services - from our standpoint that day as fortuitous a choice of topics as one could imagine. Both Dan and Robert are fluent in Hebrew (Dan also speaks Arabic), so when we switched live to the series of hastily called news conferences in Israel, Dan and Robert were also pressed into service to provide simultaneous translation.
"Producer Deborah Riemer in New York, another journalist who had lived in Israel, worked the phones. When we switched live to a telephone interview with an Israeli cabinet member or opposition leader or even a doctor at the hospital where Rabin had been taken, that was Debbie's doing.
"Another New York-based producer, Dianne James, tracked down American experts - academics, members of Congress, and former diplomats. To this day, I'm still not quite sure how she found former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was in a hotel room in Hung Kong, where it was Sunday morning.
"In addition to the wall-to-wall coverage, we also provided our affiliates with three 90-second CBS News Updates per hour and our regular five-minute CBS News On the Hour broadcasts. The Updates continued throughout the weekend, even after we decided to stand down from the continuous programming.
The staff of KWTV, Oklahoma City.
(KWTV also won the public service award for television. The story of what the station did is on page 29 of QUILL.)
Steven Almond, Tom Finkel, Michael Yockel, Chris Tague, Miami New Times, The Canyon
Ruby was a tall, imposing woman. Fat had rounded the boxy bones of her face, and when she got excited her underbite jutted out like a crooked drawer. She spoke in a cancerous growl, the words flapping past an upper gum absent of teeth. "Did you sass yo' teacher today?"
Boojay shook his head.
Ruby slipped off her rubber-soled slipper. They were in the kitchen now, which smelled of seasoning salt and grease left to sit.
"How come you lie to me? I talked to her on the phone."
Boojay said nothing. He listened to the sound of the beating, cried without seeming to care. He had a lazy eye and problems with words, and, unlike Cookie, he no longer smiled easily. When Ruby was done, both boys ran to join their sister, Angel, who was thirteen and starting to grow breasts. Ruby kept her upstairs, when she could.
Outside, distant sirens bled over hip-hop drums and distinct pops that could have been gunfire but were probably firecrackers. A train shuddered past on the track a block away, sending roaches into a brief panic, and the women around the table leaned unconsciously toward the fan positioned in the kitchen doorway, because in Scott there is no air conditioning, and the concrete walls store heat.
Writer Steven Almond tells the story:
"The idea behind The Canyon was to document, in an authentic manner, the lives of mothers and children living in Miami's inner city. I had written a couple of shorter stories about the James E. Scott housing project and gotten to know a few families there.
"All I did was to hang out there, every week or so, and record what I saw. This story is about what life is really like for the women and children living in Miami's inner city.
"Tom Finkel urged me not to try to fit the story into some kind of contrived framework. Rather, he said, I needed to let the story tell itself.
"I did reach a point where I wondered how, in God's name, I would ever present all the material I was gathering. Here again, Tom Finkel's guidance was crucial. He insisted that I allow the story to evolve, organically.
"By far, the most difficult aspect of the work was realizing that I was merely another male figure who would eventually abandon the kids that I had befriended. And facing that, in some deep sense, I was exploiting the kids by using their lives as journalistic fodder. It was betrayal.
"Hopefully, The Canyon managed to convey a little bit about what it is like, day to day, for women and children who live in inner-city housing projects. That's not a story often told."
Sharon Corpening, WUNC-FM, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Hatness
"... Because your more eccentric type women, the bishops' wives, the pastors' wives, your congresswomen, um, even your principals, the ones that you would think are too hard to even wear that style of hat, they are the ones that come and look for this type of hat."
"Usually when they come they want something that's, they want something that's outrageous, or they want something different."
Earnestine McKee is a hat designer whose Greensboro firm is called Hattitudes. She moved here from New York eight years ago to start her clothes design and millinery business because, she says, of Southern black women's penchant for wearing hats. But it was during her first visit to a Greensboro church that McKee says she truly got a feel for Southern high fashion.
"I mean, in the beginning they remind me of somethin' from outer space. They would put birds on their hat, sequins on the hat, rhinestones on the hat, feathers on ... I mean they would have everything goin' on this hat .... "
News Producer/Reporter Sharon D. Corpening tells how Hatness came to be:
"Hatness, above all else, is a form of vox populi. It's a story about Southern black women who wear hats, why they wear them and what wearing hats means to them. What the story uncovers is that black women call forth a sense of royalty when they don hats. Hats are almost like crowns.
"Therefore women who wear hats must have earned the distinction - either through their status and position in the community, or they've earned the privilege because they're elders in the community. Moreover, hats signal a sense of authority. In the Southern mind, a woman who wears a hat stands out, and she'd better be able to handle it.
"I'm a native of Maryland and came here about 10 years ago. I noticed immediately some cultural quirks in North Carolina's rural regions. While I lived in a rural community in western North Carolina, I noticed that women in church dressed to the nines. It was kind of their dress code.
"It wasn't until I moved back to the Research Triangle area - now a growing oasis of civilization - and visited a few "urban" churches, did it click.
"The story didn't become a story until I saw a newspaper clip announcing that local public television was producing a showcase of the region's poets. The story included printed excerpts of Jackie Shelton Greene's poem called 'Hatness.' The poem's images captured the 'logic' behind what I began to identify as a tradition.
"The most difficult aspect in doing this piece was deciding not to use an expert. I felt the women needed to define the tradition in their own terms, and I felt the expert would put a sterile, academic spin on it. It was a risk I took although it deviated from what is considered 'balanced' journalism.
"It showed audiences that news organizations can let loose and produce artsy pieces every now and then. It gave me an emotional outlet. Finally, it brought a subtle fact of Southern black life to an audience for whom this phenomena would typically have been imperceptible.
"I later did a series about the history of all-black private schools in the state that flourished during segregation. In some of those schools, students were required to wear hats, gloves, shirts and ties during dinner or public appearances. These were the vestments of the thriving black middle class during Jim Crow.
"The story explains why some blacks regret that schools are now integrated. The series came from an interview with a woman who is dean of freshman girls at Bennet College - a historically all-girls black college. She wears hats religiously and has been named the 'Bennet Belle.' I came to find out she was the last of a dying breed. Bennet was an elite college during its time, and all the students there were known at Bennet Belles."
Lisa Hsia, Katie Couric, Dateline NBC, The Sounds of Silence
Katie Couric: When Kenzaburo Oe won the Nobel Prize for literature a year ago this month he was celebrated around the world as one of the most gifted writers of our time. But the Nobel Prize and a host of highly acclaimed novels may not be the Japanese writer's greatest achievements. That distinction may be Oe's extraordinary relationship with his son. Here now, the tale of a father and son who have inspired one another to make words and music their very own language of love.
Voice over: This is a story about fear and about love, about the devastating forces of nature and the curious healing power of a single bird, about a father's urge to abandon his son, followed by a lifetime of undying devotion. It was the spring of 1963. Kenzaburo Oe was one of Japan's most promising young writers, about to be a father for the first time. Then, tragedy struck. His son Hikari was born with an abnormal growth on his brain, a lump so large it looked like he had two heads. (Music, x-ray of skull, photo of Kenzaburo and Hikari, wave, drawing of wave, drawing of bird, bird, lake, Kenzaburo, trees, town, photo of Kenzaburo, lightning, drawing of wave, wave, brain.)
Oe: (Reading from his play) 'Is there any hope that this kind of brain-hernia baby will develop normally? Develop normally!' The director's voice rose as though in anger.
Couric: (Voiceover) Doctors told Oe that if they did not operate the baby would die. And even if the operation were successful ...
Oe: (Reading from his play) 'You might cut open the skull and force the brain back, but even then you'd be lucky to get some kind of vegetable human being.'
(Through translator) I was 28 years old, a young novelist. I didn't have the ability to deal with reality head-on. I became very confused.
Couric: I'm going to read an excerpt for you about a personal matter. Something you've written, obviously. "How can we spend the rest of our lives, my wife and I, with a monster baby riding our backs? Somehow, I must get away from the monster baby." This is fiction, obviously, but does it reflect what you were feeling at the time?
Oe: (Through translator) Yes, it does.
Producer Lisa Hsia tells how this piece was done:
"The Sounds of Silence tells the remarkable story of Japanese author Kenzaburo Oe - 1994's Nobel Prize laureate - and his relationship with his mentally retarded son, Hikari. When Hikari was born, he was so disabled, Oe thought about leaving him to die. Instead, he chose to dedicate his life and literature to the care and nurturing of his son. With the miraculous help of bird songs and the healing power of music, Hikari Oe became an international, best-selling author. Even though he cannot speak, he can communicate with the world through his music.
"The story originated from various articles published about Oe, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1994. One of the main themes of his writing has been the 'idiot son,' so naturally there were many references to his extraordinary relationship with his son, Hikari.
"It was difficult producing a piece where the main character does not speak and the main character [Kenzaburo Oe] did not want to do the interview with Katie Couric in English. It was a challenge weaving together a piece given this challenge.
"It took about two months to complete the story. The story followed the father and son's relationship from Hikari's birth 34 years ago to when the piece aired.
"The public's response to The Sounds of Silence was extraordinary. Most Japanese are aware of this unique father and son relationship, but most Americans are not. After the program aired, there were hundreds of responses from handicapped organizations and viewers who wanted to buy Hikari's CDs.
"I feel The Sounds of Silence brought a small, but extraordinary story of a father who wanted to give up on his son, but persevered, against all odds to a mainstream audience.
"Now Kenzaburo and Hikari Oe have triumphed in their own mediums, writing and music. Their relationship teaches us all the strength and inspiration possible within a family context."
Carolyn Lumsden, The Hartford Courant, Justice in the Dark
John Cluny's wife and son were shot to death at close range in their Norwich home by someone who had waited for them for hours.
A suspect was soon arrested after the May 1993 murders. But Mr. Cluny was not allowed in the same courtroom as the suspect for the next 18 months.
Mr. Cluny couldn't get transcripts of the hearings or even look at the case file. He often wasn't even allowed to know the status of the case.
The courtroom door was slammed on Mr. Cluny because the defendant was 15 years old at the time of the slaying. He was a juvenile protected by the state's no-longer defensible and excessive confidentiality laws.
In three editorials beginning today, The Courant is calling for the Legislature to ventilate the juvenile-justice system.
Every year, a few juveniles are transferred to adult court because of the heinous nature of their alleged crimes. One such transferee is the young person accused in the Cluny killings. His name can now be mentioned: Michael Bernier.
Mr. Cluny can now watch Mr. Bernier's case from a seat in the courtroom. So can friends of Mr. Cluny's slain wife, a high school teacher, and his son, an honor-roll student.
- Sunday, February 19, 1995
An accused killer may be on the loose, and police can't tell the community who he is.
They can describe the victim, 14-year-old Jose Vazquez, down to the shirt and jacket stolen off his back as he lay dying in the snow just before Christmas.
But officials can't breathe a word that might tip off the public to the identity of the 15-year-old who they believe put the bullet in Jose's head. The law even bars them from saying whether they have arrested the teenager.
Police are supposed to protect the community from criminals, not the other way around. But state confidentiality laws shield the identity of lawbreakers under the age of 16 whether they shoplift a pack of gum or kill a boy for his jacket.
A new breed of delinquent is threatening the tenderhearted protectiveness of the excessively secretive juvenile courts.
It is the gang member who scoffs at a system designed for truants, shoplifters, and runaways. It is the Hartford teen-ager arrested for pointing a loaded gun at an officer and who brags, "I'm a juvenile. Take me to juvy (juvenile detention). I'll be out quick, and then you can kiss your wife and family good-bye."
Juvenile courts are going to absurd lengths to shield such predators from public exposure.
- Monday, February 20, 1995
Justice in the Dark is a three-part editorial series that urged legislators in Connecticut to open up the juvenile justice system by pointing to, through examples, the absurdity of the laws.
"I've been following children's issues for years. But 1995 was the year to look at Connecticut's juvenile justice system because the legislature was about to take it up," explained Carolyn Lumsden, who wrote the editorials on juvenile justice.
"I was shocked to find what the victims of juvenile crimes and their relatives were going through. They were shut out of courtrooms and denied police records on crimes that had shattered their lives," said Lumsden who is now commentary editor. "Emotionally, talking with victims and their families was wrenching. John Cluny showed me bloodstains and bullet holes in his home, and he entrusted me with family photos and a shoe box full of clips on his family's murder by a young neighbor."
Lumsden said the hardest part for her was getting inside the courtroom.
"I never did make it, but a sympathetic judge left his chambers door open so I could hear what was going on in the adjoining courtroom," she said.
The General Assembly relaxed the state's confidentiality laws and overhauled the juvenile justice system. State lawmakers opened to the public their caucus on the juvenile justice bill, which Lumsden said was an unprecedented move.
"I believe it helped change the law to open up the juvenile justice system," Lumsden said. "It enabled victims and their relatives to see police reports and court transcripts in juvenile cases for the first time. It pushed the governor and state departments toward greater openness on child deaths and more public accountability."
Lumsden said there is one untold story she wanted to share.
"John Cluny is afraid of losing his house because of the income he's lost since his school-teacher wife's death," she said. "That's one consequence of juvenile crime that people don't often talk about."
George Nicholaw, David P. Ysais, KNX Radio, Los Angeles, Fuhrman, Williams and the Jury System
By now just about anyone exposed to Western media knows retired L.A.P.D. Detective Mark Fuhrman. Just as well known are the epithets he used in taped conversations with a screenwriter. Epithets he denied using. Both the statements and the lies now shadow the entire police department. For these inexcusable actions state Sen. Tom Hayden among others wants Fuhrman tried for perjury.
KNX certainly knows the suffering inflicted by the detective. And we understand Senator Hayden's response to the vindictive and derogatory statements made while hiding behind an L.A.P.D. shield. But what can be gained by putting Fuhrman on trial?
It will mean weeks of repetitive slurs. The police department again will chafe under testimony about isolated procedures, incidents and problem officers. And there's no guarantee Fuhrman is even guilty under the strict legal definition of perjury.
But most important to KNX is the cost. Beyond the taxpayer dollars needed to try this case, is the burden placed on the hearts of citizens. There is no need to increase that pain. A conviction of Mark Fuhrman won't heal us, only our conviction to secure the trust and goodwill of each other.
For more than 25 years, KNX has continued a tradition of broadcasting editorials, It tries to advance debate on issues of interest to its listeners and encourages responses.
"Anyone living in Los Angeles, and certainly listeners to KNX, were among those consumed by the O.J. Simpson trial," explained David Ysais. "KNX was the only L.A. radio station which provided gavel-to-gavel coverage of the proceedings. The timeliness made it virtually mandatory editorial fodder."
"There is a dialogue that needs to be energized in this country. It involves the pandering of the race issue. Sensible people should be able to sit down and air their concerns about racial attitudes without the immediate polarization along racial lines," Ysais said. "A perjury trial featuring Mark Fuhrman and his slurs could not have furthered that dialogue. In fact, it would have deflated it.
"This editorial evolved around the misguided notion that placing Mark Fuhrman on trial for perjury would somehow soothe some of the anger lingering after the trial."
Ysais says the discussion that has resulted regarding the jury system and the way Los Angeles selects its police officers has been the most gratifying aspect of this undertaking.
"One KNX caller opened a conversation with me by saying we could not possibly see the issue clearly because we had not experienced what he felt were racist attitudes by police officers in Los Angeles," Ysais said. "I explained that a Fuhrman trial would only reinforce a distorted image, and certainly that would not be healthy for anyone. After a few minutes, he said he sort of agreed with the thinking behind our position. That's progress toward a healthy dialogue."
Bob Schieffer, Face the Nation, CBS News
At the White House this morning, the President and Mrs. Clinton planted a tree in memory of the children who died in Oklahoma City. Later today, the first family will participate in a memorial service for all the victims in Oklahoma City.
And we close today on a personal note. As all of us watch these terrible events on television this week, we were reminded that there is something called evil in the world, that it is as real as the sun above us and the earth below us, and that it is not always visited upon us by those who live in a different place. But we were also reminded there is goodness, and in the wake of this monstrous act, we saw how real that can be. In a nation that has sometimes seemed indifferent lately to its neighbors, Oklahoma City's children became all our children. At a time when government bureaucrats are demonized, we saw a magnificently coordinated effort: federal, state and local officials and just plain neighbors working to comfort the victims and track down the killers; firemen and policemen who refused to go home when their shifts were over; doctors who gave no thought to personal safety.
The historian Will Durant once wrote that barbarism, like the jungle, does not die out, but only retreats behind barriers as civilization is thrown up against it and waits there, always to reclaim that to which civilization has temporarily laid claim. The barriers against barbarism are love, compassion, hard work, intelligence and courage, and even through the rubble of this awful week in Oklahoma City, we saw them reinforced. In an awful week, we also saw America at its best.
- Sunday, April 23, 1995
Let me close with a - a little final thought on that very thing, Colin Powell. You know, when I was a little boy, my grandmother was certain I would be president some day. She was wrong, of course, but that's how people used to think of the presidency and the kind of dreams that they had for their kids and grandkids. How different it is today.
When Colin Powell told us this week that he did not want to go through the ordeal of running for president, most people nodded sympathetically and said they understood. When it became known that his wife worried for his safety, most of us said, "Who can blame her?" That is the most disturbing part: American politics has become so vile, the process of selecting a president so odious and dangerous that good people in many cases just no longer want a part of it, and we have become resigned to it.
The next time you hear one of those sleazy political ads on television and wonder what kind of impact our mean politics is having on American society and the American psyche, ask yourself this question: How long has it been since you've heard a mom or dad or a grandmother say, "Some day, I hope my son or daughter is going to be president."
- Sunday, November 22, 1995
"I have felt that the journalist's main responsibility is to be the explainer," said Bob Schieffer. "Sunday mornings are one of the last time periods on television where newsmakers have an opportunity to lay out their proposals and explain them in some detail ... It's my hope that these little essays that I write for the end of each broadcast add some context to the issues that have been in the news throughout the previous week."
Schieffer is chief Washington correspondent for CBS News, moderator of Face the Nation and anchor for the last 23 years of the CBS Saturday news. He said he's not really sure how the idea for these commentaries originated.
"But one day it seemed to me that some topic we were covering merited some comment and I just typed one out. Reaction was positive so I just kept doing them," he said.
"Sometimes I write the essays on the morning of the broadcast, sometimes I noodle them around in my mind all week. Deciding what to write generally takes longer than the writing itself," he said.
Schieffer said what's most gratifying for him is when "someone says, 'I never really thought of it in that way.'"
"I hope it has given a little context and on occasion maybe even have brought a smile to a viewer on a Sunday morning," Schieffer said. "From a personal standpoint, I really enjoy writing so these essays provide their own set of pleasures for me. For one thing they force me to sort out my own thoughts."
Michael Ramirez, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis
"Much of modern editorial cartooning has been reduced to drawing humorous anecdotes of current issues," observed Michael Ramirez. "My efforts are directed toward drawing cartoons that impact the political environment and stimulate public debate.
"This is done by drawing cartoons that deliver a potent message, rather than humor for humor's sake. While the powerful weapon of humor facilitates the ability to reach a wider audience, it is the message that defines an editorial cartoon. It is the message that makes it an editorial cartoon. An editorial cartoon that is humorous without substance is only a cartoon."
Ramirez said he chose the cartoons he submitted for the SDX contest because the events they depicted had a profound impact upon the American psyche.
"Editorial cartooning is an interactive medium," Ramirez said. "In a political system that has been relegated to being merely reactive rather than proactive, the editorial cartoon takes on the role of catalyst, instigator, protagonist and antagonist, luring the reader into the political process. Editorial cartooning is 'the art of persuasion.'
"Cartoons must be painstakingly researched long before anything is put to paper. The visual metaphor chosen must fit the mood of the event. The dark images in the O.J. and the Oklahoma bombing cartoons aptly portray the foreboding sense of loss in the security of our country, the sense of loss in the integrity of our judicial system and depict the senseless loss of their innocent victims.'