Monday, June 29, 2009

Damn Good Writing

As an appreciator of the newspaper industry, and the fifth season of The Wire, I often have mixed reviews of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  For instance, this each Sunday they fail to put my favorite comic "Pearls before Swine"  in their comics section, despite being there all week and worse, Sunday's front page and local news are mushed into one section.   This week, even their combined might were not enough to produce stories worthy of spending my morning, nor the quarters it cost me.

However, the Monday edition completely redeemed such poor performance with one report.  The local section is my favorite and undeniably the most important section of any city paper.  While national news can be retrieved from any number of sites, the local section bears the burden of reporting on issues of importance to the denizens of the Best City in the World.  Even though pitifully short in its number of articles, (blame it on a slow weekend of news, I guess)  one article blew my mind.  

Hard Time at a Young Age by Daniel Malloy is some damn good writing.  Admittedly D. Malloy has never jumped out at me in the past, but his work today deserves praise for a number of reasons.

He manages to tell a story.  In fact he grabs a full page about a young black juvenile offender, not exactly the subject of your typical Disney movie nor local newspaper coverage unless being demonized, and makes him a understandable character.  He never lets young Mr. Nowlin off the hook for his transgressions, and plainly presents the facts of his past offenses, yet manages to make him a realistic and sympathetic figure based solely on the presentation of his humanity.  Malloy also succeeds in making the inconsistencies and injustices of the juvenile justice system clear without sounding preachy.  No small feat.  And saddest, for both young Mr. Nowlin and all kids caught up in the system everywhere, is the admission that great rehabilitative progress was being made in a youth residential treatment facility, and now in the adult system such rehabilitation efforts will be completely ignored.

This type of news coverage is rarely seen and is a testament to writers and editors willing to give both sides of a story their due.  Rarely is such thought and effort put into a story in the paper... 
unless it's about the Steelers.

"I don't want any problems from you, you hear me?  You should be glad we caught him."
-Uncle Nicky Detillo 
by Lord Johnson


Lady Rivera said...

Part of me thinks your Pearls Before Swine campaign is silly, but that's because I think the strip is silly.

BUT, I was recently reminded that Rex Morgan MD still takes up valuable real estate in the Sunday comics, and that makes your complaint all the more valid.

Because PBS may be silly, but Rex Morgan is PAINFUL.

Maybe I can start a campaign against Rex Morgan, which will coincide with you PBS campaign and we can change the world.


P.S. Do you think we can enlist Obama on this one?

Lord said...

Can we add Sally Worth to that hate list too?

I don't think anyone has ever read that one.