Sunday sampler

Most of the state’s newspapers have Irma on their front pages, which sort of makes sense. I say sort of because weather stories are tough for newspapers. The paper goes to press before midnight and isn’t read until, what, 7 a.m. on Sunday? It’s easier to get an updated forecast by turning on the TV when you get up. But whatever; there are other good stories.

Raleigh: The N&O has a piece about what I call a strange expense by the state Supreme Court. But I care less about the story than the writer, Joe Neff. Joe, one of the state’s best investigative reporters, is leaving the paper to work for the Marshall Project. He joins Mandy Locke, who left last month. The leader of the investigative team, Steve Riley, is going to work at the Houston Chronicle. By my count, that leaves only Dan Kane and David Raynor on the investigative team. I assume the N&O is going to reload, but these are huge talent and institutional memory losses for the paper. In a broader sense, they are losses for the state’s citizens who have benefitted from the work they’ve done holding miscreants in state government accountable. Presumably, some of these departures are a result of the digital first initiative undertaken by McClatchy papers. Regardless, iIt is time for the state’s other large papers to redouble efforts to do tough-minded investigative work.

Raleigh: Meanwhile, the N&O reports on the stalled progress of a three-year-old murder case in the small town of Salemburg. If nothing else, the story is one of how the homicide of an 11-year-old girl can affect dozens of people on the victim’s side and the suspect’s.

Fayetteville: And I promise I’m not in a dark mood this morning, but the Observer features a story about a 4-year-old who went missing in 2000. The boy gathered his two dogs and walked out of the house, never to return. But the Sheriff Department’s search continues even now.

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