Wrongful death

Judge approves settlement in wrongful death lawsuit of Columbia firefighter

The thing I am still learning to do, is write on a tight deadline. Not that this piece was tight, or demanded on deadline, but it was a piece we decided to cover and I knocked out in about an hour or so.

It was also a story where I didn’t do much actual reporting, where I relied upon some court documents and then on previous Missourian reporting. Which, I struggled with at times, in part because we delivered contradictory information in different stories over the years. It wasn’t exactly hard to find the correct facts, but it was interesting to see how some minor things can get twisted or lost as stories evolve and different writers pick them up.

Lastly, I’m still finding my way around CaseNet, which is a great resource, but jargonistic.

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Tax credits

Proposed health care plan to replace the ACA would cut tax credits for many Missourians

 More of an explainer than anything else I’ve done, this story really came from the fact that I kept hearing about tax credits, but I, in trying to write about them as a reporter, didn’t even really understand what they were. So, this was my chance to dig into the minutia of it all. The lens for it, though, was the new health care proposal and how radically it would change the current set up (to favor the young and the rich).
The story was also really my first attempt to make numbers clear. Tax credits are, obviously, based around a lot of numbers. So to give examples and help people understand what everything actually means, I had to understand the numbers and then find a clear, concise way to relate them. I don’t think I succeed much at first, but I think I got to a point where it wasn’t overwhelming, and it was pretty clear. I have a tendency to get lost in paragraphs that are packed with numbers, my eyes start erratically jumping around, and just about all the information is foregone. Eventually, I just skip to the next paragraph looking for the summary. But, I know that I have an obligation to relate the numbers, to be as transparent and thorough as possible, and that means including and explaining the numbers.
Also, generally speaking, this was the first time I understood that I was enjoying writing about health care and I was starting to get to a place where I could make sense of what other stories were saying—and when I realized just how confused so many other people probably are when they approach the painfully erudite complexities of our health care system.