The Lifestyle section of last week's Washington Post featured a moving story about the relationship between former Post journalist Robert Melton and his wife Page, and the ways in which their relationship changed following Melton's traumatic brain injury.
I don't want to give away a lot of the details in this post, because the writer of the piece (Susan Baer) uses a lot of foreshadowing and suspense to move the story along. Rather than telling you what it is about, I will share with you how I came to find it, and how I responded as I read it. This description is intentionally vague ... I don't want to spoil the story for those of you who read it.
I came to read this story after seeing it several times on Twitter. As a former journalist who has a wife and children, I could relate to Robert Melton. I read the first 10 paragraphs and was interested in what, at the moment, seemed like a contradiction - Page's departure from the house seemed to be at odds with her dedication to her husband.
I kept reading, becoming more emotionally invested. Then, on the last page, the questions I had were answered. The answer was not the one I expected, and it troubled me (especially given the fact that I had continued to identify myself with Robert). At a point, I was so troubled that I kind of wanted to stop reading. However, the end of the story was near and I was, to use a poker player's term, "pot committed."
So read the story, and consider these questions. How did the reporter want us to feel at the end? What do you see in the story that makes you feel that way? Was everyone in this story treated fairly? If not, who was unfairly treated, and what might have been done to address it? Why is this story newsworthy? What else strikes you?
Also, if you are interested, the Post conducted a live web chat with Page Melton and Susan Baer. You can read the transcript here.