Saturday, June 24, 2006

between the lines

My favorite reporter at the Star is DeAnn Smith. It might be because she was my main competition when I worked for the weekly, so I'm inclined to pay more attention to her stuff. But she really is a master at slipping in those little details that signal the real story to folks who know a thing or two about how power works in KC.

Like, I love this piece about Gayle Holliday.

It's all packaged like a total puff piece. But then Smith slips in these breezy little asides to let you know what's really going on. Like when she follows a praising quote from Emanuel Cleaver with:
And Cleaver should know. Holliday is chairwoman of the executive committee at Cleaver’s church, St. James United Methodist, which makes her his boss.


Or when she sets up a kiss-ass quote from outgoing school superintendent Bernard Taylor with:
Taylor gushes when it comes to Holliday, who helped organize his going-away party.

I spoke with Holliday recently for a story I wrote for the premiere issue of KC Business, which will hit the stands next week (I think). She wasn't too keen to talk with me, saying that I always seem to find something bad to write about here. Which is true. And true.

She said to me, "I really am a nice person."

I actually felt a little bad when she said that, because, yes, the upcoming article will be most unflattering, and, yes, she really is a nice person.

But no one's doubting the nice person part. With so many connections, one would assume a level of niceness. The question is more a matter of public trust. Are certain people automatically qualified for no-bid, six-figure contracts simply because they're nice to all the right people?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article in KC Business. Keep it up. No one else is taking on these topics. How NorthStar does all it does without any attention paid to it is beyond me.