I Went to Jail (But They Let Me Out)

I know I’ve been unusually quiet lately.

Part of it is because I haven’t been out and about as much as I usually am (and thus have less to say), and part of it is because I’m working on a very large story, or series of stories, about the 90-plus-page report on the Stutsman County Correctional Center.

The report itself is pretty interesting, but given its size and scope it’s taking me a while to get the information, and then to get it organized in a coherent fashion. These types of stories are hard to do because you generally have five to six really important facts that you want to get in at the beginning of the article. And the problem with that is that only one thing can really be at the very beginning.

And in this case I talked to five people about the story (some people multiple times, and once, yes, at the jail) and read the jail report too. That’s a lot of information to condense into even two or three stories.

It doesn’t present quite the same challenge as transforming a page full of statistics into a story (I’m looking at you, AYP results!), but it’s still rather time-consuming and requires a great deal of thought.

The stories should be done this week, I hope.

However, because it will take a year to two years to implement some of the changes resulting from the study, there will likely be more stories about the changes at the jail later, as we check up on how the changes are going and what the financial impact has been. I’ve already learned a lot about jails, and hopefully, so will our readers.

Hopefully, I’ll be blogging a bit more once I’m done with the first stories, though!

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