It’s getting to be that time of the year where we stop for a minute and reflect on all that the quickly passing year has brought us. I am quite delighted to say 2011 has brought me together in a Washington Post local blogging triumvirate with Tom Jackman and Mike Rosenwald.
I don’t think I’ve been in a triumvirate before, for one thing. And Jackman, who writes the State of NoVa blog, and Rosenwald, of the “Rosenwald comma Maryland” operation, are tremendous company to be in. So as a little Christmas present, I implore you to cross the psychic District line and web silos to check out a few of their most fabulous items from the year.
Let’s start with Jackman, a reporter whose body of work destroys the notion that nothing interesting ever happens in the suburbs. He’s found more killer stories in Northern Virginia courthouses this year than I’ve found in a decade of covering D.C.
Jackman’s had several big reporting coups this year. First off, there’s #beltwaysex — the viral sensation touched off by his coverage of a lawsuit claiming that a 2010 crash on I-495 was caused by a copulating motorist (Salem Trad, pictured). He followed the story through to the $22,000 verdict.
He’s also been all over the August police raids of the Eden Center, the sprawling Vietnamese strip mall in Falls Church. Jackman showed how the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force made a big splash, claiming the mall was infested with gangs and drugs. But the merchants cried foul, and many of the arrests haven’t held up in court.
And then there’s his coverage of hapless Loudoun County sheriff candidate Ron Speakman, who had a messy affair in his past — one that ended in him getting shot — and went on to send a photo of a man’s penis to a woman. Speakman did not deny it, incidentally, tending the following explanation: “The Internet has brought many new things into our lives, including the opportunity to display poor judgement (sic) on a global basis in nano-seconds.”
Some other great posts:
But Rosenwald’s bravura performance of the year was his blogging of the Lululemon murder trial. He relayed how prosecutor John McCarthy described Brittany Norwood’s attack on Jayna Murray: “She sustained more than 300 wounds —almost too many to count, McCarthy said. More than 100 were defensive, her hands sliced up as she held them up, fighting. Fighting.” He described Norwood’s reaction as she listened to a medical examiner describe Murray’s traumatic injuries: “She stared down at a table, as she has done most of the trial. No response at all. Nothing.” He wrote about the brief testimony of Murray’s mother: “[Phyllis Murray] did not cry. She did not wince. In the second row, her daughter-in-law wiped her eyes. Was this a picture of her car? Was this her cell phone? Calmly, firmly, Murray answered.” And he told us about the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, where Norwood is likely to spend many, many years. Do note: “MCIW inmates have been sewing U.S. and Maryland state flags for nearly seven decades.”
But his best post of the year, perhaps the best post on all of washingtonpost.com, was his search for answers to a troubling question: Why did the Apple Store employees next door, who heard Murray’s shrieks and cries, not summon help? Rosenwald writes about one intense elevator ride with the Apple Store manager who wasn’t saying nothing.
Now, on the kosher beat, Rosenwald has really owned it. He previewed a Labor Day matzoh ball eating competition by starting a “ dialogue about the vital role matzoh balls play in life.” A vital one, to be sure. He also chronicled the victory of one “Munchin Mike” in said contest. And then, when a new Wal-Mart development threatened Rockville’s Bagel City with closure, he was all over that as well, determining that this could in fact be the first bagel shop to be displaced by a Wal-Mart.
Some other great ones: