The Tennessean’s gripping football profile; the Oregonian’s revelations; journalists threatened for official’s error

March 1, 2019

Like E.T. following a trail of Reese’s Pieces, I spend my week looking for delicious little nuggets of great local journalism. (Hiding in the woods? Not so much. Yet.)

I’ll be honest. I’m always skeptical about another football-player-overcomes-adversity story. But this one from Joe Rexrode at the Tennessean in Nashville had me welling up at the end.

The Oregonian debuted a fascinating watchdog series in February called “Polluted by Money: How corporate cash corrupted one of the greenest states in America.” Part Two landed this morning. Credits include the story by Rob Davis, photography by Beth Nakamura, video by Teresa Mahoney and data analysis by Steve Suo.

It’s always fun to trot this one out: Sam Ruland of the York Daily Record has a roundup of wacky laws still on the books in Pennsylvania. So don’t sell your kids while you’re there, or you could be in a lot of trouble.

Sean Kirst of The Buffalo News tracked down the local man behind a viral video, expletives and all.

In the wake of solicitation charges against Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, The Miami Herald’s Sarah Blaskey wrote, “there was little about the five Asian-themed spas … that screamed ‘hub of human trafficking.'” Still, nearby patron and shop owners told reporters they knew something was off. Lesson: Always go to the scene.

At The Seattle Times, Scott Greenstone writes about a pioneering program from Tennessee that officials in Washington state hope to adopt: an adulting coach for foster kids to keep them from experiencing homelessness.

It seems like everyone was talking about this piece, published in The Mercury News and written by Robert Lewis and Jason Paladino of the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California Berkeley, in which officials accidentally handed over records about cops’ criminal behavior, and then told reporters they were violating the law simply by possessing them.

Caitlin Andrews of the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor had this interesting Twitter thread giving some credit where it was due on her piece on the bid process for a Medicare provider, but proving once again that localization can yield big stories.

Have a story that you think deserves attention? Send candy and/or suggestions to me at ballen@poynter.org or on Twitter @barbara_allen_