The lost son

In IDS on November 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm

The police beat can be tough, but sometimes it’s really rewarding. Check out this story from the IDS. This could have been a normal police brief, but Jake New turned into a really interesting story.


It’s been almost 17 months since Suzanne Giza has heard from her son.

Frank Joseph Giza III, 25, was hitchhiking and couch-surfing across the country to music festivals when he sent his last letter to his mom in early June 2009.

He had made it to Bloomington, and he said he would contact her in a couple of weeks, the letter read. As she sat in her home in Selbyville, Del., she waited for his next phone call or card or letter. But the weeks passed, and she never heard from her son.

Not then, not on her birthday and not now.

“I’m just sick about it,” Suzanne Giza said. “He’s not one not to call me. He’s resourceful. He’s asked to use strangers’ phones before just to call me, let me know he’s OK.”

Why it works:

  • Narrative details (like the letter and the poster descriptions) bring the reader into the story.
  • Jake included information about why these cases are difficult for the police department. This made the story more than a mother pleading for her son.
  • He talked to the mother. That seems obvious, but look at the number of crime stories we only write up as briefs. Gathering information about this guy took some real reporting.

Writer’s Block will be taking a break for Thanksgiving. I’ll start posting again next Tuesday.


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