A Quality Obit For a Quality Journalist.

This week’s Hoot is the obituary that Philadelphia Daily News writers John Morrison and Sarah Glover wrote on former CBS-3 reporter Malcolm Poindexter.

Because I’ve been assigned to write obituaries more than once in my career as a reporter, I know how tough it is to writer them, especially feature length ones like the Poindexter obit. You’re dealing with distraught family members, trying to make the person sound good without turning them into Mahatma Gandhi, and because of the sensitivity connected to the story, getting one thing wrong can really cause a problem.

What I liked about this story is that it allows us to get a glimpse into Poindexter’s life. If someone who had never met him was reading this obituary, they feel like they knew him after reading it. They would know about his charity work, how he met his wife, how his work helped pave the way for African American journalists here in Philadelphia, and how far he was willing to go to do the best journalism.

I also liked the remembrances that Morrison and Glover were able to get from Poindexter’s colleagues. Quotes like Lisa Thomas-Laury’s, “Malcolm is one of the tallest men I know,” were very effective in conveying the essence of his contributions.

– Denise Clay

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