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BEST WRITER AT A LOCAL DAILY Minneapolis 2001 - Charles Laszewski

Readers' Choice: Jim Walsh

"Kaiser carried his shotgun everywhere. Sometimes at night, the priest who jumped out of airplanes, stitched his own leg after a motorcycle accident and stalked caped buffalo, called out in his troubled sleep." So ended the third installment of Pi Press reporter Charles Laszewski's series investigating the death in Kenya last August of Minnesota-bred missionary John Kaiser. The passage, like so many in the weeklong series, concisely captured the essence of the man while foreshadowing his impending crisis. Fueled by seemingly endless details about Kaiser and his life in Kenya--which Laszewski accumulated through dogged interviews and research both here and during a brief trip to Africa--the series effectively drew a backdrop for the events as it built a true page-turning suspense. It's an unfortunate reality that such evocative writing rarely makes it into daily newspapers anymore, owing in part to increasing pressures both to simplify news and to churn out copy. That's why it's all the more refreshing to read work that combines the skill of digging for information with the tender knack for portraying the human condition.

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