Today, a new feature begins. Called Plums & Prunes, it will be a periodic critique of material — stories, headlines, photos, graphics, etc. — appearing in The Star. (Articles can be seen by going to The Star’s Web site — kansascity.com — and entering key words in the upper-right search box.)
With no further ado, away we go!
~ “Less roadway repair, more snow removal” (A-1, Friday, March 26) — Eye-catching, solidly written centerpiece on the new Kansas City budget. Photo by David Eulitt; story by Lynn Horsley.
~ “Martin’s Wildcats are toughest team alive” (B-1, Friday, March 26) — Whitlock column on K-State’s victory over Xavier featured this break-out-laughing line: “Every man, woman and child a Wildcat!”
~ “Voice of a victim can’t be silenced” (A-1, Saturday, March 27) — Sara Shepherd’s haunting story about then-81-year-old Carol Cooper, who was raped in 1999 and psychologically tormented ever after. The final twist: In 2004, Cooper disappeared, never to be seen again, after leaving her south Kansas City residence for her daily walk.
~ “Board election comes at a crucial moment” (A-1, Sunday, March 28) — Clean, comprehensive package previewing Tuesday’s Kansas City School Board elections. Written by Joe Robertson.
~ “Vigilant boards keep organizations on track” (A-1, Monday, March 29) — Timely story by Diane Stafford on the importance of boards of directors. The peg: the Karen Pletz debacle at Kansas City University of Medicine and biosciences.
~ “Campaign ad places hateful message on air” (A-1, Monday, March 29) — Slap-my-jaw piece by Dave Helling about a Springfield, Mo., U.S. Senate candidate’s racially biased, anti-Semitic radio ads.
~ ” ‘Free’ a hard sell” (A-1, Tuesday, March 30) — Quirky, gotta-read-on piece, accompanied by storytelling cover photo, on some Kansas towns having trouble giving away home-site properties. Story by Laura Bauer; photos by Jill Toyoshiba.
~ “Driver has long record of violations” (A-1, Tuesday March 30) — Infuriating story by Christine Vendel and Meredith Rodriguez about oft-convicted driver who killed a 12-year-old boy and seriously injured the boy’s mother in a gruesome crash at Gregory Boulevard and Bruce Watkins Drive.
~ “Inmates get to look at private information” (A-1, Wednesday, March 31) — Holy cow! Kansas prisoners hone their computer skills by entering data that includes free people’s Social Security numbers. Thank you, Joe Lambe.
~ “Carrying in the Capitol” (A-1, thursday, April 1) — Irresistible, double-take intro: “It’s been a quiet week in Jefferson City. Legislators writing laws. Debating the budget. Training with handguns.” Jason Noble and David Klepper wrote about a bill — seemingly on its way to passage — that would allow legislators, their aides and employees to carry concealed weapons in the Missouri statehouse. And guess what? It’s prohibited in Kansas.
#% “A future of hope can heal the pain” (p. 1, Sunday, March 28) — Yet another front-page story about the Kansas State basketball team. At the same time, not one story about the chronic pain being generated by the the resurgent priest sex-abuse scandal has made it to The Star’s front page.
#% “New KCK library in store” (p.1 headline, Monday, March 29) — This comes under the category of “fails to live up to billing.” The headline had me scanning the story to see where the new library was housed. Turns out the story, by Lisa Gutierrez, was a hand wringer about the sorry state of the public library branch at Argentine Middle School. But what about that library moving into a store? Well, plans are for a move in 2012! The library won’t be in the store for a looong time.
#% “Crackdown could be upshot” (A-9, Tuesday, March 30) — Embarrassing under-placement and inadequate treatment of the Moscow subway bombings, which killed 39 people. Topping off the embarrassment was a lame, please-overlook-me headline.
#% “Will health law uncork bottleneck?” (A-1, Wednesday, March 31) — No beef with the story; nice piece of enterprise (meaning reporter or editor driven, as opposed to breaking news) by Steve Kraske and Dave Helling. But, like many journalists, especially reporters, I loathe the so-called “Boca jump,” in which a story is “teased” on the front and the reader is directed inside, where the story begins anew. Boca, you ask? So called because it reportedly got its start many years ago at a daily in Boca Raton, Fla. Unfortunately, the Boca just won’t seem to go away.