Take ’em below the surface

The skilled reporter gives the reader new information in an understandable way. All good writers in this business must first be good reporters because a solid foundation of information is paramount.

But the skilled writer leaps beyond the news reporter by setting the scene, giving the reader the necessary context and revealing the characters who are involved in the events. Good writers can also make those people who inhabit their stories come alive in multiple dimensions.

And the really good writers go deeper, into difficult places where feelings, beliefs and implications are found. It’s not always easy to do or appropriate with many stories about this community. But sometimes the complications that people find themselves in are matched with a compelling event, and we’re able to take readers to a place where they haven’t been before. Such is the case with this week’s cover story, “Bless the child and pass the scalpel,” by R.V. Scheide.

You will go into the operating room as a skilled neurosurgeon puts himself on trial by entering the brain cavity of a baby boy and reconstructing the child’s skull. It is safe to say that the vast majority of us have not witnessed a surgery, much less one of this complexity. But, perhaps more important, you will also get to know the people involved and the risks they were willing to take, and come to understand their feelings and beliefs.