Rob Manning, an education reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting, has just proved something that we've argued all along: Journalists can still produce in-depth stories about important, complex issues in interesting and compelling ways. His secret weapon: kids ... adorable kids.
Ride your bicycle down to the end of Bay Road, past the houses, the abandoned supermarket and the metal recycling yards, and you end up at the bay, of course. It’s a place of muck, trash and soggy timbers washed up by the tide. That’s where we used to float a raft like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. And if we fell in, we had to walk home smelling like you-know-what. But that’s what we did when we were kids growing up during the 1950s and 60s in East Palo Alto, on the “wrong side” of U.S. 101.
From a distance, Detroit’s problems seem all too clear and simple to understand: The street lamps don’t work; houses by the score lay abandoned; and the city is broke. Listen to the people, and you quickly understand that the situation is complicated and that it didn’t sneak up on them.