Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Newspaper Chase XIII

Are you a fan of breathtaking newspaper journalism? Reporter Diana Keough kicked off a three-part series in the Plain Dealer today that blends heart-rending human interest narrative, mystery novel pacing, and award-winning pathos and bathos. Mostly pathos, to be sure, but the cynic in me came up with the "award-winning" gambit -- stories should never be written solely for awards, and there's enough here for me to believe that's not the case.

So what's the story? A young police officer. His young window dresser wife. Their growing family. Financial hardship. Emotional discord. And then a life-changing injury. Keough's creative nonfiction approach is spot on, and the storytelling is superb. Today, the bump: The injury occurs. Tomorrow, the set: Reality sets in. And Thursday, the spike: Life goes on.

Kudos to the Dealer for dedicating so many column inches to a story full of heart and art. And kudos to Keough for capturing the calamity -- and loving connections -- so well. Tonight I wish I lived in Cleveland. For tomorrow, the Dealer runs part two.

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