America’s Best: Crime and Courts

By Ginna Royalty

Cathy Frye: “Caught in the Web: Evil at the Door”

download (1)Cathy Frye’s Caught in the Web: Evil at the Door series came out in three parts in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2003. She easily weaves “the details of dogged reporting masterfully, pulling the reader through a journey despite a sense of dread about the ending.” She utilizes excellent narrative writing, putting the reader in a different place. Using a timeline and chronological order really helps the reader get into the mindset of the story and the instant messages help get you into the head of young teenagers.

Linnet Myers: “Humanity on Trial”

Linnet Myers has won an ASNE award for government reporting and was a feature writer for the Chicago Tribune. Her work exemplifies standing as sentinels at the gates of official power, one of the most important things reporters can do. She wrote stories for Chicago’s Violence Court and sometimes wrote four stories a day. In her feature writing she took a unique stance, speaking directly to the readers. In “Humanity on Trial,” she shows this by saying “Step through the metal detector” and “walk down the hall.” She zooms in and out of the story, from examples to visions, statistics to human cases.

Anne Hull: “Metal to Bone, Day 1: Click”

Anne Hull

A friendly reminder fromHidden Oaks Student CouncilAnne Hull started working as a copy clerk at the St. Petersburg Times and later won an ASNE award for non-deadline writing. She wrote a powerful three-part series about a teenager who put a gun to a policewoman’s head and killed her in 1993. Her reporting is always in-depth. In “Day 1: Click,” she put in hours and weeks of work. She brought a mug shot to life and helped readers learn about the person in the photo. She brings detail into every situation, “In uniform she was petite and muscular, like a beautiful action-figure doll, with piercing green eyes and size 4 steel-toe boots.”

Other Examples:

Inside the Biggest Heroin Bust in Northeast Ohio History 

This article did a great job connecting Cleveland on a local level to the rest of the country. It showed just how deep it went: wiretapped conversations, paid crimA friendly reminder fromHidden Oaks Student Councilinal informants, undercover officers, and so much more.

Two Gunshots on a Summer Night

This article in the New York Times is about the suspicious death of the girlfriend of a sheriff’s deputy in Florida. It had thorough reporting and discussed underreported topics. They utilized the public record laws to get to the bottom of the story.

Faces of Summer Violence

This story looked at anecdotes of a violent summer in Baltimore and the stories behind the deaths. The stories reached all spectrums of the population and readers felt the extent of lives lost. The journalists worked hard to show every aspect of their lives, and readers were touched.


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