Credibility

Ben’s tweet last week about his latest story about the Dozier School for Boys was something I needed to hear.

“This story is based on six years of reporting, the review of thousands of documents and interviews with more than 100 people.”

It seems like all the talk about journalism lately has been the kind that crops up every few years, when someone makes something up, or makes someone up, nobody catches it, and it gets into print. Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, and Michael Finkel come to mind.

Now, there’s Rolling Stone, and the UVA rape story source problems. And that Stuyvesant High School kid who didn’t really make $72 million trading stocks.

So instead of paying attention to that, go read Ben’s story. It’s real, folks, and it hits hard. Share it. Let’s shift the dialogue.

They started with shovels, then trowels. The first hole they’d dug was empty, nothing but Jackson County clay. But, now, on the third day of digging, a graduate student got Kimmerle’s attention. Her eyes were wide.

“Want to come take a look?”

Kimmerle descended into the open grave.

The months to come would bring protests and press conferences, more threats and a massive search for a second cemetery. Kimmerle would come close to breaking. She’d find more bodies than anybody expected. She’d find an empty casket. She’d find a hundred more questions.

Now, though, in early September 2013, at the bottom of the grave, she brushed away the earth.

There in the dirt was a perfect set of baby teeth.

 

Murray’s Problem

Mark Johnson: Murray Blackmore stood at the lectern and tried to take in the dark conference room, the men and women in wheelchairs waiting for him to wrest a little hope from science. But in his preoccupied state, the room was a blur and hope a struggle.The 39-year-old researcher took a deep breath.

An assistant professor at Marquette University, Blackmore had looked forward to addressing the symposium on spinal cord research in Boston. Work filled his daylight hours; interrupted his dreams at night. Often he would wake at 2 or 3 in the morning, pitched from sleep into the scientific puzzles of a broken spinal cord. Ideas in the midnight hours seldom bore fruit, but his mind churned through them just the same.

He felt a responsibility. The National Institutes of Health had awarded him a $1.6 million grant. He ran a lab outfitted with cutting edge equipment. He pursued the newest ideas in the field.

But in the fall of 2013, the researcher with the short, black hair and slim cyclist’s build was facing a year that would test the balance in his scientific life.