Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stellar storytelling

Even if you're one of those people who says you don't have time to read a daily newspaper, here are two recent examples of stories you simply have to find time to read.

The first special report, titled "Doubt," was published in late August by the St. Petersburg Times. Staff writers Meg Laughlin and Don Morris detail the case of Leo Schofield, who has been in prison for 18 years for the 1987 murder of his wife Michelle. Leo's long-stated claims of innocence seemed to have been bolstered when a fingerprint found in the car Michelle was driving on the night she went missing were found to belong to another inmate serving time for murder. And there were other problems with the case against Schofield as well, including a key eyewitness who changed her story and has had mental health issues including delusions and the lack of any blood at the place believed to be the crime scene, despite the fact that Michelle was stabbed 26 times.

Schofield's lawyer has petitioned for a new trial and a judge is expected to rule on the request in the next few months.

The second example is an eight-part series that concluded today in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. It tells the story of Johanna Orozco, who was shot in the face by her abusive ex-boyfriend. The shooting had occurred while the ex-boyfriend was on home arrest after raping Johanna at knifepoint in the home she shared with her grandparents and brother.

Reporter Rachel Dissell and photographer Gus Chan should be commended for their eloquent telling of Johanna's struggle to recover physically and emotionally from the tragedy that has changed her life forever.

Both stories also include incredible multimedia packages including slideshows, podcasts, video interviews and interactive timelines and graphics.

Both are nothing short of amazing examples of quality journalism.


Anonymous George Hesselberg said...

What was your opinion of the multi-media packages? Is there a point where there is too-much information, or where a reader should read first and look later?

11:53 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I thought they were excellent, particularly the audio slideshows. It really broke my heart to hear Johanna's lisp (she lost most of her teeth when she was shot). While I read the story first in print, hearing Johanna's voice first hand did a better job of telling her story than words did.

One issue I've thought a lot about (and this is the librarian in me talking) is the archiving of this content and other papers' multimedia efforts. That's something most news librarians are trying to figure out a way to deal with.

The defendant was sentenced last week to 27 years in prison. The Plain-Dealer published the story's epilogue on September 20.

7:32 PM  

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