Sunday, June 1, 2008

Telling her story

Today's Boston Sunday Globe has a sad but wonderfully written front-page story on the life and death of Acia Johnson, the 14-year-old killed along with her 3-year-old sister Sophia in a South Boston fire on April 6.

The story pieces together the chaos that surrounded Acia's upbringing, concluding that her parents -- who had substance abuse problems and rap sheets that spanned several pages each -- and the state failed in their responsibilities to the girl, a high-achieving student who had sparked interest among some local high school basketball coaches.

As Dan Kennedy points out in his Media Nation blog, the story "is as fine an example of long-form narrative journalism as you'll see in a daily newspaper," especially with the layoffs that have forced papers to cut back in recent years. A piece like this needs time to be researched and written, and it's a credit to the Globe that editors and reporters believed that Acia's story needed to be told.

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