Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Scribe of the Doomed

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Scribe of the Doomed

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Scribe of the doomed


An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published June 26:

Tonight, Associated Press reporter Micahel Graczyk goes to work in Huntsville, Texas.

Reporters bear witness to history but what Graczyk has witnessed is not for the faint of heart.

The state of Texas is scheduled to execute its 500th inmate since the death penalty was brought back to the United States as an option for individual states in the mid-1970s. Of those 500 executions in Texas, Graczyk has witnessed more than 300 of them since covering these deaths became his beat as a reporter in 1984.

While he writes about far more than just executions, it's his work covering them that has made him a living legend among reporters. His work is clear, concise and crammed with knowledge and experience. Most importantly, if he has a bias for or against the death penalty, it's impossible to detect in his thorough and balanced stories.

Having witnessed so many executions, he has become a story himself but he always politely refuses to answer the one question he's always asked - are you for or against the death penalty?

The fact he's even asked speaks to the quality of his work, which is on full display on page 16 of today's Citizen. A reporter's reporter, he covers each one with the same gravitas.

As his story explains, Texas and 31 other states have the death penalty option. While many of those states have all but stopped using capital punishment, Texas has gone the other direction. About every three weeks, the state of Texas puts an inmate to death. No other state comes even close to the number executed or the frequency of executions.

Tonight's execution isn't just newsworthy because of the gruesome milestone. Kimberley McCarthy will be the first woman to die as punishment for her crimes in the United States in three years and just the 13th woman in the modern death penalty era to face execution.

Capital punishment remains a divisive issue in Canada, even though the last executions happened just over 50 years ago and the death penalty has been off the books since 1976. …

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