Very "readable"

Dateline: Tue 20 May 2008

The Star includes some great reporting today. And we all love great reporting, so check it out:

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

Phil Richard's Page 1 story on the death of Indy 500 driver Pat O'Connor in a horrific race accident in 1958 is beautifully, sensitively, honestly written. Richards, a master craftsman, takes his time with his work. He's excellent at all aspects of writing, but the use of quotes is always tricky (novices want to throw in everything). Richards gathers and shares them in a way to maximize reaction.

Get this, from A.J. Foyt, about the inherent dangers in racing (O'Connor, a huge crowd favorite, died in a fire in a 13-car pileup):

"Every time you hit, you was on fire. I've got a lot of scars to show it."

Richards talked with O'Connor's widow, now 74, and son, 51, to capture the enduring appeal of the track even in the midst of personal tragedy.

Also insightful: Tom Spalding's account of the shocking shutdown of the Frank E. Irish Co., a contractor in business since 1916 and a household name in Indy biz circles. The loss of the family-owned business is costing 180 jobs.

Spalding delivers both detail and analysis about the mechanics of the failure -- trace it to National City bank, which called due a $5 million loan after changing its collateral conditions. Spalding does not spare the human aspect: "John T. Irish, the second-generation president of a company founded by his father, choked with emotion as he described the company's troubles ..."

Ditto on John Ketzenberger's column, about a little-known educational venture, The Mind Trust, that is putting Indy on the map for educational innovation. The column explains what the not-for-profit is doing for the Indianapolis Public Schools. Ketzenberger links lots of local and not-so-local names in an effort to communicate the intricate structure of the endeavor. Fascinating and newsworthy.

Finally, one would be remiss to not mention Susan Guyett's social column, which reveals that the Star's very own Dennis Ryerson is, if nothing else, a fine dancer. He came in second in a contest.

We all knew he was good at something....

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