3 GREAT STORIES: Starring a pair from the Marshall Project

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

The volunteer (1/18/18, The Marshall Project): I have long admired the Marshall Project’s gripping coverage of the complexities around criminal justice. This piece, from staff writer Maurice Chammah, displays so much of what makes the site shine.

Chammah tells the story of Scott Dozier, a Nevada death row inmate who waived his legal appeals and, essentially, requested he be killed by the state. The problem? The state wasn’t prepared, and officials have spent the past year seesawing over Dozier’s case. Chammah finds a powerful subject and case study in Dozier, but mostly he exposes the chaos in the world around the inmate, particularly, in Chammah’s words, “states that want the harshness of death sentences without the messiness of carrying them out.”

Bridge to nowhere (1/19/18, The Marshall Project): In the above piece, a Marshall Project writer delivers complexity through words. In this piece, a Marshall Project photographer does the same through images.

Kirsten Luce parked herself at a border crossing in Laredo, Tex. and waited for the moments she sensed would occur. Then she captured them: migrants approaching a customs officer, asylum seekers and CBP workers facing language barriers, border crossings into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The captions provide the details; Luce – and her camera – deliver the emotions.

Thermal delight (1/16/18, 99% Invisible): It’s been a while since I have mentioned “3 Great Stories” favorite 99% Invisible. But this episode nearly wore out my grin.

The subject? Air conditioning. The pitch? Like many 99% Invisible episodes, a commonplace object has shifted history in ways we don’t acknowledge. In this case, A/C helps spawn the summer blockbuster movie, spurs a population boom in the Sun Belt, and alters the course of U.S. politics. We shouldn’t be drawn to a 30-minute podcast about air conditioning, but episodes like this are why we’re drawn to 99% Invisible.

Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com. You can also follow Matt on Facebook and Twitter.

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