News analysis

I pride myself in explanatory journalism that makes the arcane clear. And in my career I’ve tackled some complex issues, such as embryonic stem cell research and school funding formulas. Some examples:



In 2006 voters in Missouri were presented with a constitutional amendment to protect certain forms of stem cell research. By then, I had spent more than three years covering the complexities of the issue in the Missouri Legislature. What follows are examples of my writing. I also shared my perspectives on the issue on the noted documentary film, the Stem Cell Divide.

What is life?: Here I sort through the ethical and moral considerations of the stem cell issue for voters. The election was bankrolled by millions in political contributions and drew advocates like Michael J. Fox to the state. This was part of a series that ran prior to the election,


A FINE LINE: In 2004, stems cells was already a centerpiece of Missouri’s gubernatorial election. In this story I sort through the politics. More examples of my political reporting on the topic can be found in my collection of state capital coverage.


I covered foster care at a time in which a child death in Springfield Missouri prompted a rewriting of child protection laws. Along the way, I filed several explanatory stories.

NEW LAW: This one looks at the consequences of a measure that does not allow reunification in cases where parents had a prior criminal conviction. I also had written a prior story on the court battle fought by parent Paul Warren.


PASSAGE: My analysis when the broader foster care bill passed.


It’s not a glamorous topic, but it is an important one. For several years I tracked the travails of Misouri’s beleagured school funding formula, which has been under near constant court scrutiny.  Some of those stories are in my statehouse section. Here are a few new analysis stories on the topic:

Social studies at Oakville Elementary in St. Louis.

COURT CASE: When most school districts sued the state’s system, this story sought to explain the complexities.

JURY IS STILL OUT: In this analysis I look at what the state did and did not accomplish when it rewrote the funding formula.

SHORTFALL: Years later, I set aside my editing duties for a couple of days to again weigh in on what was working and not working with the formula.

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