This week in local journalism, we’ve got a spotlight on the papers that are doggedly pursuing follow-ups, from jail mismanagement to the college admissions scandal.
Also, I’ve been trying put something fun at the end of roundups like this, to give you guys something particularly pleasant to look forward to. I definitely failed this week, unless you consider dead animals uplifting. Got a tip on a good way to keep at tickler file in 2019? I’d love to hear about it — firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Lauren Caruba and photographer by Bob Owen have this in-depth feature in the San Antonio Express-News about a student dealing with the aftermath of a devastating flesh-eating virus.
Sarah Smith of the Houston Chronicle is watching out for people who might not be able to watch out for themselves in this critical look at a subsidized housing complex.
An investigation by Brianna Bailey at The Frontier found that “many Oklahoma prisoners serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles have struggled to get their cases reopened for a new sentencing hearing or even get access to an attorney — a potential violation of their constitutional rights.”
Alfredo Corchado of the Dallas Morning News has this eye-opening account of what it’s like to be an asylum seeker, and the headline says it all: ‘This is all one big lie.’ Why this migrant just wishes he could go home.
Mary Katherine Wildeman of the (South Carolina) Post and Courier has this examination of a loophole that allows hospitals to collect tax refund money from people who have unpaid medical debt. Prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor: “The (South Carolina) Department of Revenue does the legwork, and the cash flows straight into the coffers of some of the region’s largest healthcare companies. … Together, health organizations took at least $92.9 million in more than 172,000 seizures to pay off past-due medical bills in 2017.”
FOIA fans prepare to freak out: Anna Lee of the Greenville (South Carolina) News writes about how administrators were encouraged to destroy minutes from a special meeting that criticized a public school leader.
In ongoing coverage, we have several standouts:
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer and cleveland.com have been relentless in covering the transgressions of jail and prison staffers. Here’s one from Cory Shaffer on an abusive jailer who got reassigned despite being fired.
- The Miami Herald has started a series called Trump Tourism: Access for Sale, which is “investigating how U.S. President Donald J. Trump has become a favorite target of a little-known Chinese industry peddling access to the rich and powerful.” This week, a look at a Chinese Communist Party promoter.
- What about the students whose parents are embroiled in the college admissions scandal? The Bay Area News Group analyzed hundreds of pages, writes John Woolfolk, to determine which students might have known of the scheme, and how it impacts their enrollment.
- How long until your city’s landfill is, well, full? The Tennessean’s Mike Reicher talked to experts about why that city’s recycling and composting participation fall well below the national average, and what will happen when the main landfill reaches capacity and closes down in the next few years.
- Kaitlin Schroeder of the Dayton Daily News has an investigation into area nursing home’s staffing shortages and the problems they create for residents.
Collaborations continue to make important strides:
- The Associated Press partnered with USA Today Network-California, McClatchy and Media News for Destined to Burn, a two-part series that culminated this week. There’s a lot to learn in that link about thoughtful partnerships and community engagement.
- Also in McClatchy partnerships … OverCorrection, a partnership between the Sacramento Bee and ProPublica, launched this week, part of a group effort among California’s McClatchy papers to examine jails and prisons in that state. Here’s one from Jason Pohl and Ryan Gabrielson on deaths and grave injuries at the Fresno County Jail.
Other headlines that caught my attention:
- The Colorado Sun: Talk QWERTY to me: A vintage typewriter shop in Glenwood Springs gets analog hearts racing
- The Seattle Times: What an Olympic medalist, homeless in Seattle, wants you to know and Over eight years, the government has deported about 34,000 people via Boeing Field. King County wants it stopped.
- The Kansas City Star: Lobbyist’s crusade to change Title IX in Missouri stems from his son’s expulsion
- The Denver Post: Death angels, chopped ears and firebombs: A Denver man’s life inside a violent separatist cult
- Burlington (Vermont) Free Press: A life in recovery: From getting thrown out of Dunkin’ Donuts to becoming a lead barista
And we’ll end with this dead animal roundup. Call it this week’s local trend:
Keep this local roundup in mind as you encounter outstanding work by your colleagues and within your network. Email suggestions to email@example.com.