Congrats to the Star

Dateline: Sun 02 Dec 2007

The real test of a newspaper is if it can cover a difficult breaking-news story relentlessly, advancing it in as much depth and detail as possible, while still retaining the interest of the public. And in the end, making a difference.

The Star has fulfilled the first part of that mission with its front-page articles on the tragic death of little TaJanay Bailey of Indianapolis, killed at the hands of her mother and her mother's live-in boyfriend.

Veteran social issues reporter Tim Evans, who deserves a special place in heaven for his work, has led the charge, but writers Jon Murray and Will Higgins also shared bylines.

I was impressed that today's story named names of decision-makers in the case within the vast Department of Child Services network. It wasn't done in a spirit of casting blame, since the reporting was so balanced and nuanced and explained every twist and turn along the torturous short life's journey of TaJanay.

Political columnist Matt Tully also added his heft to the unraveling reporting, in one sense. It was Matt's idea for the Star to take a hard look at the Phoenix Apartments, where TaJanay "lived" with her mother and her mother's boyfriend, in an atmosphere of squalor, filth and vermin.

Congratulations are also due to Tully for winning first place in column writing and to RiShawn Biddle, a former employee, for his first-place in editorial writing, in the Hoosier State Press Association competition. Other first-place winners are biz writer Daniel Lee, copy editor Maurice Williams for headlines, the always honorable Phil Richards in sports, and Terry Hutchens in sports. Three photographers also had first-place pix: Sam Riche, Rob Goebel, and Danese Kenton.

Now, I wonder how that grievance filed against the Star on Biddle's behalf is coming along....

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