The Boss Wants Pulitzers

The Baron on a new direction for Reuters:

During a recent visit to European bureaux Ingrassia contrasted what he termed “adrenaline journalism” – the traditional wire service story flow – with “aspiration journalism” – the new investigative writing at length that is now being pushed for editorial operations.

Spot news is still wanted but the benchmark should be set higher, chief correspondents were told. It is up to bureau chiefs to decide where that level will be and what stories can be ignored.

Asked about the business case for such a radical switch in journalistic priorities, the editorial chiefs said the chairman and majority owner David Thomson wants Pulitzers, and this is the only way Thomson Reuters can get them. He is a very rich man – the world’s 17th wealthiest billionaire according to the most recent Forbes magazine reckoning – and that is what he wants, chief correspondents were told.

The Story Of Her Life

Diana Moskovitz: After all the torment and torture, Nubia Barahona could still flash a smile. It was radiant and confident, set off by blond bangs and big hazel eyes. She smiled like a girl with her whole life ahead of her.

It showed no trace of her personal hell.

She was born to a drug-abusing former prostitute, removed from the home after her father was accused of improperly touching another child, then sent by the state’s child protection agency to live with a couple who, police say, bound and tortured both her and her twin brother, Victor.

The abuse was habitual and savage, Victor later said. And yet, so many of the family photos of Nubia show a girl with a sunny disposition, wrapping her arms around siblings, blowing out candles on her birthday cake, sporting a cake-frosting goatee. She splashes in an above-ground pool in the backyard. She grins at animals she can see through the car window at Lion Country Safari. On Halloween, she goes trick-or-treating in a pink princess costume, topped with a frothy pink headband and with a pink fan in her hand.

How it all ends has been reported at length. On Valentine’s Day one year ago, Nubia’s decomposing body was found stuffed inside a black trash bag in the back of her adoptive father’s pest-control truck along Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach. She was beaten to death and soaked, police said, in a stew of Pine-Sol, gasoline, liquid chlorine, chlorine tablets and Drano.
She was 10.

Jorge and Carmen Barahona are awaiting trial. Both are charged with murder. The Department of Children & Families, which received numerous calls about Nubia to its child abuse hot line but did not protect her, has been flagellated for failure to do its job.
That is the story of Nubia Barahona’s death.

This — from voluminous court records, audio recordings, hundreds of family photos released by prosecutors, interviews and DCF documents — is the story of her life.

Between Roses In Mumbai

Katherine Boo: July 17, 2008—Mumbai

Midnight was closing in, the one-legged woman was grievously burned, and the Mumbai police were coming for Abdul and his father. In a slum hut by the international airport, Abdul’s parents came to a decision with an uncharacteristic economy of words. The father, a sick man, would wait inside the trash-strewn, tin-roofed shack where the family of eleven resided. He’d go quietly when arrested. Abdul, the household earner, was the one who had to flee.

(h/t Mark)

The Dividing Pig

Really glad this was on 1A of the Tampa Bay Times.

Will Hobson: LARGO — This was never just about the pig, the neighbors say, but the pig was a problem.

Last March a loud, large, shaggy-haired man named Bernie Lodico moved into Bay Ranch Mobile Home Park. A few months later he brought Kojak, his blind, 300-pound pet pig.

Largo law bars livestock in residential areas. And Kojak stank, some neighbors say. Management sent Lodico a letter.

“It is our understanding that you have a pot belly pig living in your back yard,” wrote park manager Cliff Wicks on Sept. 26. “This is not allowed. Please place the pig somewhere else.”

Lodico replied with a letter from a psychiatrist at James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa. Lodico, 59, was a Marine who served in Vietnam. The pig is his “emotional support animal,” the letter explained, a pet protected by federal law.

“Mr. Lodico … has a mood disorder and numerous psychosocial stressors,” wrote Dr. Javier Cartaya. “This animal will support his coping skills.”

The legal battle between Lodico and the park was only beginning. And the neighbors were right. This was about much more than a pig.


Kevin Pang interviews Montgomery and Kruse for a podcast.

Montgomery describes his beat the same way he’s been describing it for many years: “Loneliness, human collisions, choices and consequences.”

Kruse is unsparing, as usual: “I don’t stop for five seconds, at this point, for Grandma sewing a quilt.”


On Radiolab: Christopher Daniel Gay has broken out of jail more times than anyone else alive. He is the stuff of country songs and film rights. Reporter Ben Montgomery learned about him after Chris’s most notorious getaway; he had fled prison and stolen a tractor trailer so he could visit his dying mother. (Oh and somewhere in there he also made off with Crystal Gayle’s tour bus.) Running had become a way of life for Chris, and that big stunt made him into a folk hero–an underdog with seemingly good intentions, always one step ahead of the law. But the story behind the myth is more complicated. Producer Pat Walters joins Ben to unravel Chris’s past. They ask him, and those closest to him, why he keeps on running, and whether he can ever stop.