Monday, August 15, 2011

When people disappear in plain sight

 This story in The Washington Post is about an accomplished man who "served 10 presidents, but died alone in squalor."

I'm calling it to your attention for a couple of reasons.

One, it's an uncomplicated, straightforward story, but the writer chose the ending perfectly, and in so doing really elevated the piece, I think. The story details efforts to get this man help and how agencies declined, claiming they couldn't force help on someone ... and then shows how persistent an agency can get when it is owed money.

Two, journalists regularly deal with head-scratching responses from public officials. In this story, you have at least two agencies refusing to release information about a dead man. Privacy reasons, they say.