You might have seen Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones’ write-up on the collaboration between 33 news organizations in California, which banded together to take full advantage of a new law requiring more state transparency in police violence and abuses of power.
The same day, the Carolina Public Press rolled out its latest initiative, “Seeking Convictions.” The Press, an independent news nonprofit since 2011, rolled out the collaborative initiative statewide in 2018 and this week launched the results of a six-month “investigative series examining sexual assault convictions in North Carolina, the challenges to successful prosecution, the differences across jurisdictions and the issues state court rulings create when it comes to consent.”
You can read more about Carolina Public Press in this Q&A with executive director and founder Angie Newsome.
In both states, organizers and participants noted how unusual these partnerships might have seemed a decade or two again, and serve to further demonstrate how the American media landscape has changed — and how it continues to put helping people and holding government to account at the forefront of its business model.
(Editor’s note: My weekly search for great local content continues to wow me — but I don’t want to overwhelm with an endless reading list. I’ve included some of my favorite pieces with a bit of context, then included several more as simple bullets. Too much? Too little? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Like Stallone in “Cliffhanger,” or perhaps more aptly like Ace Ventura in “When Nature Calls,” I’m beating myself up over letting good stuff slip out of my hand, so let me hear from you.)
Sandra Tan of The Buffalo News has this heartwarming story about a child nobody wanted, and what happened when a family of 10 finally did. Amazing photos by Robert Kirkham.
John Caniglia of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer had this two-hour sit-down with the matriarch of a family accused of mass murder, packaged with some candid photos (below) from Lynn Ischay. Check out the attention to detail: “The Serenity Prayer hangs from her refrigerator door. A large, well-worn Bible sits on a kitchen countertop. An old blanket in the living room is embroidered with the message: ‘Our family is filled with hope and faith and held together with love and grace.’”
Reporters at the South Carolina Post and Courier spent five months investigating the state’s 46 county sheriffs — and found some pretty shocking stuff. Tony Bartelme and Joseph Cranney found that “South Carolina sheriffs have embezzled, bribed and dipped into public funds for expensive chauffeurs. They’ve driven drunk and bullied other public officials. They’ve been accused of leveraging their power to sexually assault their female employees. While many South Carolina sheriffs have strong records of serving the public, others served themselves and their cronies …”
Justin Mattingly at the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch shone a light on the shocking disparities that members of one rural community experience, including sparse medical treatment facilities, and spotty internet and cell phone service, crippling the impoverished community. The photos by Alexa Welch Edlund are particularly compelling.
There was a lot to read this week in The Boston Globe, including this investigation by Jenna Russell, who “reviewed dozens of complaints of workplace harassment and intimidation from around the state,” and leads with a particularly compelling figure. There’s also the insane penalty this customer faced for having a package one inch larger than UPS expected, unearthed by Sean P. Murphy; and a look at the disappointing tax revenues from Massachusetts’ pot sales via Naomi Martin.
The Miami Herald was on fire this week, with ace reporter Julie K. Brown continuing to doggedly cover the court proceedings against Jeffrey Epstein. But we also got from Monique O. Madan and Nicholas Nehamas “Worker tried to warn others FIU bridge was unsafe. The collapse left him in a coma” and Glenn Garvin brought us “She endured two decades of hell in Castro’s prisons. Now she faces foreclosure in Miami.”
If it weren’t for photographer William Luther of the San Antonio Express-News, I doubt I would have seen this two-acre homage to Beto O’Rourke.
NPR member station WAMU’’s education reporter Jenny Abamu broke a story revealing that Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools subjected its students to hundreds of cases of physical restraint and isolation — most of them unreported. The story led to a superintendent and board review of district’s policies and a follow-up with a startling video.
Be sure to also check out:
- Chicago Tribune: ‘He was cold as ice’: Hundreds of children die each year with no explanation. Their parents are pushing for answers and Alarms sound after 6 suicides by Chicago cops over 8 months: ‘It’s definitely worrying and demands attention’
- Dayton (Ohio) Daily News: Progress slow in addressing chemicals in local water systems: Here’s what we found
- The Greenville (South Carolina) News: High government salary, untrained police, lawsuits made public through records, FOIA law
- AL.com: An Alabama fraud story: The many faces of Donald Watkins
- The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer: ‘It’s about privilege’: Meck sheriff writing tickets in a wealthy area causes backlash
- Arizona Daily Star: 2 Tucson-area cases show difficulty in prosecuting toddler death
- Las Vegas Review-Journal: Michele Fiore has history of unreported tax, business problems
This post has been updated to clarify that the Carolina Public Press has existed as an independent news nonprofit since 2011 but that it is not a collaborative news organization on a regular basis.