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>looking through ‘The Girl in the Window’

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>A 7-year-old girl, unable to speak or feed herself, discovered in a filthy, roach-infested room, her diaper overflowing and her body covered with bites. How do you tell a story like this? Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times responded by clearing its Sunday features section and devoting six ad-free pages to a 6,500-word narrative and haunting photographs of the girl and her adoptive family.
Poynter Online News Editor Steve Myers takes a look into the whole writing process.

The project was the result of months of reporting and photographing by two gifted journalists, as well as a behind-the-scenes team. The story is worth a reader’s time. And for journalists, it’s worth analyzing for lessons learned, including this: A few months into the project, reporter Lane DeGregory and photographer Melissa Lyttle found themselves without compelling content for the Web and had to retrace their steps in reporting this story. (Here’s the multimedia presentation.)
Among the other important lessons are how these journalists:
  • Earned a family’s trust and gained access to its most intimate moments
  • Collaborated with and depended on a team throughout the newsroom and company
  • Balanced unfettered access with compassion for the story’s subjects

Photo: Melissa Lyttle


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