enterprise journalism, journalism, miami, miami zombie, newspapers, profiles, ronald poppo, rudy eugene
This Miami Herald story on Rudy Eugene — the “Miami zombie” shot by police in May — is, in my estimation, a good example of great journalism.
Because great journalism anticipates its readers questions and seeks to answer them. And, in doing so, it humanizes its subjects and brings the news into brighter relief and greater depth.
The Herald story does that in several ways. It introduces readers to the people who loved Eugene: his mother and her fiance, his girlfriend, his friends. It uncovers new facts — like a previous association between Eugene and Ronald Poppo, the homeless man he attacked. And it centers all that around a compelling narrative. The article starts and ends with the story of Eugene’s mother, Ruth Charles, and her search for a Haitian church to host her son’s funeral. (In the end, every church Charles asked was uncomfortable housing Eugene’s body.)
The story of Eugene and Poppo is grisly and strange. It’s almost unimaginable — but the Herald’s deep dig into the attacker’s past helps readers imagine it.
Kudos to The Miami Herald and to Nadege Green and Audra Birch, who shared the byline.
Read “The unraveling of Rudy Eugene” here.