I crashed an ethics party the other day. I heard that they were serving up free lessons in journalism ethics as part of Ed Manasseh’s growing program over at Bellarmine, so I showed up uninvited. Plenty of big names in the room. At my table Wednesday were WHAS-TV’s Rachel Platt and community activist Christopher 2X. The conversation was stimulating, engaging, and often dealt with difficult issues. One issue was the way journalists must, as part of their duty, intrude upon the privacy of regular people in extraordinary, tragic circumstances.
What we didn’t know was that an extraordinary feat of journalism was taking place right down the road. The Lexington Herald-Leader, this week, is publishing a story that stretches into six parts and required 3 1/2 years to report. There were 8,000 photos shot to tell the story of a mother’s voyage through Fayette County Drug Court. One reporter, one photographer. There’s multi-media, slide shows complete with music and interviews with the subject.
It’s unheard of for a newspaper to throw this amount of resources into a single story. It’s Pulitzer-worthy work, but more interesting is the way the piece was put together, and it’s all chronicled in various parts of the paper. The paper’s “Behind the Headlines” blog gives an excellent, detailed account.
Expect plenty of national notice for the series.