Magazine article Editor & Publisher

One Paper's Hard Cell Approach

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

One Paper's Hard Cell Approach

Article excerpt

During his 14 years as a Concord (N.H.) Monitor columnist, Ray Barham wrote about everything from cats to spousal jealousy. But what separated him from fellow writers wasn't his quick wit or deep philosophy. It was his newsroom: a six-by-10-foot cell.

Barham's column, in fact, might have had the most unique tag line in the business, casually informing readers that he was "serving a life sentence in state prison."

A convicted murderer sentenced to life without parole in 1983 for killing his estranged wife's boyfriend, Barham was given the unusual opportunity in 1987 of writing a column from prison. "It seemed to me that there was some value to having someone on the inside," Monitor Editor Michael Pride said about Barham, whose column (written on a word processor) ran about once a month. "Ray was a superb writer and a careful reporter."

The paper's window into prison life ended Jan. 28 when Barham died of cancer at 72. …

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