Good show, Andy Gammill and Mark Alesia

Dateline: Mon 17 Aug 2009

For all the griping done in this space about newspapersin genearal and the Indianapolis Star in particular, it's vital to also note the stunning successes.

Such is the story in Sunday's paper, Page 1, above the fold, from Star Watch: ACCUSED TEACHERS' EXITS CLOAKED IN SECRECY.

This is the kind of gutty journalism that newpapers, and, it seems, only newspapers, can pull off. I can't think of any local blogger with the tenacity, vision and frankly, the resources, to continue to insist on unearthing the facts and to go after the Lawrence school officials in federal court. Here's a key paragraph from the story, which is about four male teachers Lawrence officials believed harassed or sexually abused female students, then were permitted to resign:

"In July,  a federal court ordered that the agreements (allowing teachers to resign and, in two cases, keeping their records clean for future employment) -- spanning from 1994 through 2003 -- be provided to The Indianapolis Star, which sought court action after the school district refused to provide details of what took place."

Bravo reporters Andy Gammill, who covers Indianapolis Public Schools, and Mark Alesia, who writes about the business of sports. The story also includes the sort of salient break-outs that, frankly, have improved journalism 1000 percent: thumbnail sketches of the accusations against each of the four teachers, with photos of three of the men, and explanatory highlights -- How We Got The Records and The Law On Firing Teachers. I am sure unnamed editors toiled behind the scenes as well. Bully for all who shepherded this into print.





Cope [unverified] said:

That was a fine piece. I also like how Behind Closed Doors seemingly blew the lid off of Carl Brizzi's marital woes. It mentioned that he was riding his motorcycle with his girlfriend in Mitch's motorcycle outing, but CivicNet doesn't show any domestic relations cases involving the Brizzis.

2009-08-17 20:00:01

hendy [Member] said:

But remember: bloggers write stuff on web pages. Journalists are something completely different.

Apples are fruit, but so is durian, peaches, and persimmons. Comparing these as fruits is ok, but comparing journalists, whose profession sticks to often strict ethical principles, is different from web loggers, who can be anyone with any motive at all-- or the most foul of obvious/non-obvious intentions.

2009-08-17 20:24:16

west [unverified] said:

Brizzi and his wife divorced last year, in Boone County. The Star reported it in the Doors column when it was filed, in mid-2007.

2009-08-17 20:25:21

ruthholl [Member] said:

As I recall, the Star reported that Brizzi was divorced a while back. I can't recall the circumstances of how they leaked it, however. Maybe just a small news story.
These are always tricky issues: we're still dealing with the Mel Simon-declining health as well. The word is out that he is very sick and in hospice. At least that's what people in the know are saying. Is it true?
Seems when Julia Carson was ailing, everyone was all over that -- the blogs, etc. I am wondering why Mr. Simon gets a pass. He does run a big publicly traded company here...but so far, nobody is reporting the latest news.
Why not?

2009-08-17 20:29:48

ruthholl [Member] said:

p.s, thanks to west for the verification of what I vaguely recalled.

2009-08-17 20:31:30

Kelly [unverified] said:

I read this teacher piece on Sunday from start to finish. Best piece of journalism I've seen from the Star in a long time. Agree with your kudos to the reporters and editors who made this one happen. It was well done, well written, well researched.

2009-08-18 10:50:24

jon [unverified] said:

We knew Mr Woodward, then at Belzer JHS, was a creep in the early eighties.

2009-08-19 14:34:14

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