A Peculiar Monument to Shoshana Walter

The Ledger on Tuesday noted with justifiable pride that Shoshana Walter, perhaps the paper’s most promising young reporter since I worked there (that’s a joke, by the way), recently won a prestigious national award for her work on abuse: a Sigma Delta Chi first place for excellence in journalism.

More than 1,300 entries were submitted in print, radio, television and online for the 2009 contest year, according to SPJ. The nearly 80-year-old contest honors individuals for their contributions to journalism.

“The Ledger is all about community journalism and these stories are the essence of our mission – to explore in a thoughtful and penetrating way an important topic,” said Executive Editor Skip Perez. “Shoshana worked many months to win the trust of her sources and the result was a powerful series of stories that prompted praise from victims and their advocates.”

I don’t know about you, but I certainly look forward to reading more from this talented and dedicated young woman.

Well, if you follow The Ledger closely, you’ll know the punchline. Shoshana Walter is an ex-Ledger reporter. She was an ex-Ledger reporter when this story ran. She left the paper last week for a gig in San Francisco. The Ledger somehow managed not to communicate that in a story celebrating her accomplishments. Odd. The story is like a eulogy to her memory that doesn’t acknowledge she’s dead as a presence in Polk County.

Not a big thing. But weird and indicative of something in this new journalism world, although I’m not sure what.