Deadly Train Crash Haunts Town

All too often, reporters engage in assignment ADD: They latch onto the latest, noisiest scandal for a day or a week and then quickly drop it once the next big thing comes along. Yet readers are often left frustrated, wanting to know what happened in the wake of a particular event or scandal and curious about the long-term repercussions.

Today, Jenny Jarvie in the Los Angeles Times does an admirable job following up on just such a story - last year's deadly train crash in Graniteville, SC, which released chlorine gas into the environment.

Last January, a Norfolk Southern train loaded with pressurized chlorine gas crashed into a parked train, killing nine people and injuring 240. It also forced over 5,000 residents of the small town to flee the poisonous gas. Although, South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control has carried out extensive testing of Graniteville's soil, air and water and found no evidence of chlorine gas, residents have health problems.

"Within 48 hours of the crash, the department conducted an epidemiological assessment of about 300 people. Nearly 80% experienced symptoms such as severe coughing, burning eyes, chest pains, skin rashes, headaches, dizziness and nausea. Jerry Gibson, director of the department's Bureau of Disease Control, said a follow-up of half of those people in the summer found that 80% continued to experience symptoms."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Prose !

I liked that line "All too often...reporters engage in assignment ADD ... "

Your 100% right is nice to follow up on a story, so the readers can have some feelings of closure.

Old friend from Belmont

1/31/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think can be done to increase newspaper circulation? I think Newspapers are extremely important for a free society, to stay free.

1/31/2006 04:39:00 PM  

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