Episode 43: Lane DeGregory

Lane DeGregory is a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer at the Tampa Bay Times. In early January, the Times published a long story by DeGregory, told in three chapters, about a five-year-old girl whose father killed her by dropping her off a bridge into the ocean.

“The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck” is a brutal yet powerful piece that shows how a sweet little girl was the victim of a child protective services system that let far too many children fall through the cracks. The editor on this story was Kelley Benham French, now a professor of practice at the Indiana University Media School. We featured French on the podcast after she wrote the three-part series, “Never Let Go.”

DeGregory won a Pulitzer in 2009 for feature writing for her story, “The Girl in the Window.” Her work has appeared in Best Newspaper Writing in four times. She has taught journalism at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg, been a speaker at the Nieman Narrative Conference at Harvard University, and won dozens of national awards.

She’s also known for finding wonderful stories among everyday lives, including a piece on a flag-toting rodeo rider, and a boy buying a Valentine card for his first girlfriend.


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