Sunday, December 09, 2007

What Good Newspapers Do

I'm as quick as anyone to blast the silliness that passes as implementation of First Amendment freedom of the press these days, but there are still a few places and writers which get the concept. We're fortunate to have a couple of corr sent examples today. Here, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles a UW professor who has made forgiveness his life study (after first making his name in documenting children's views of justice). If we are ever going to take victims seriously in corr sent and not just use the vengeful ones for propaganda purposes, if we are ever going to repair the actual damage done by crime through restorative justice, we need to have this guy start speaking at every single one of our conferences and workshops. And here, the Boston Globe gives us an extraordinary overview of prison suicide, the people who do it or try, and the problems prisons have in stopping it. This is a quote that should haunt you: "So common has it been to find a man with a makeshift noose around his neck that some correction officers have taken to carrying their own pocket tools to cut them down." We can whack the histrionics and sensationalism of the usual day-to-day tabloidism and local newsreaders very justly, but these are the kinds of reporting that should inform and underlie our work day-to-day, too.

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