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April 14, 2010

Life After The Disaster

There are as many as two dozen funerals planned this week  in Montcoal, W.Va. Families there will have to say goodbye to the victims of the worst coal mining accident in the U.S. in 40 years. Nick Helms lost his father Terry in the Sago mine disaster in 2006. When Nick heard about last week’s mine explosion, he hopped in his truck and drove for five hours in the middle of the night to comfort the families and stand vigil with those who still held hope for their loved ones. Nick talks with Dick Gordon about how his own loss helped him support the families of the Upper Big Branch mining community.

The Biggest Story Ever Missed

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week. And no, the National Enquirer did not win, but for weeks, it was a delicious possibility. The tabloid is best-known for celebrity gossip and macabre survival stories. In 1978, Shelley Ross was a 24-year-old editor there. One day an ambitious newcomer pitched a story about a strange American cult in Guyana saying “This could win us the Pulitzer Prize.” He was laughed at. He pitched the story unsuccessfully twice more before the national story broke about the Jonestown massacre. It was a major missed opportunity for the paper.

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