Investigations that make a difference; her son’s heart still beats; a tragic cat death

This week in local journalism

February 22, 2019

An investigative team from The State in South Carolina said it took the shocking death of a 3-month-old for legislators to get serious about regulating home daycares.

From their story: “Kellie Rynn Martin … died from ‘suffocation by bedding’ while lying in a bassinet a Greenville home. … Investigators found 22 other children in the home, almost four times the legal limit, including 14 concealed in the basement and two children in a room where there was a loaded handgun on a shelf.”

The journalists requested records from state agencies and law enforcement that took almost a year to get, and spent the last two months digging into the findings. Their work, published this week, includes a heartbreaker about child deaths within the home day cares, the high cost to parents of local day care, how providers with a history of trouble were allowed to continue operating, and highlights from among the most disturbing findings.

Andrew Carter of The News & Observer in North Carolina told the story of a uniquely bonded pair: a heart transplant recipient and the mom curious to find out where her son’s heart still beat.

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This Baltimore Sun story started as a Twitter thread but was adapted as a first-person story and video that demonstrates how to let a citizen offer a first-person perspective on community problems. (I’m looking for other examples of this kind of first-person article, where organizations let community members tell their own stories, for an upcoming Poynter article — send your tips to

Richard Stradling of the Herald Sun in Durham, North Carolina, has this slightly ghoulish story about what you do when a natural disaster kills 4.2 million chickens and turkeys. (Spoiler alert: You use them for fertilizer.)

Anna B. Mitchell of The Greenville (South Carolina) News writes about how the newspaper plans to fight the county for open records related to harassment complaints.

Post Malone at the 2018 American Music Awards. (Shutterstock)

If you were wondering who designed Post Malone’s fancy awards show suits (and who among us wasn’t wondering?), The Indianapolis Star’s David Lindquist has a feature on the designer, complete with historical perspective on the western suit’s place in American culture.

And if you read nothing else this week, don’t miss this one. Sad news out of Pensacola: Moose the East Hill Publix Cat is presumed dead, and the public outpouring of grief is unsurprising, given his popularity. Jake Newby has the story and related previous coverage for context.

See something great we should feature in an upcoming roundup? Send your investigations, your features, your visual work, your serials, your projects or anything you see online that deserves amplification to