Tag Archives: The Man Who Stood on the Bridge

It’s a great day for street papers

Thing 1: The New York Times reports on the growing interest in street papers nationwide, including Street Roots, Real Change in Seattle and Street Sense in Washington, D.C. Street Roots vendor Kevin Bynum and Managing Editor Joanne Zuhl are both quoted in the article, which ran in today’s business section.

The story focuses on the economic aspects of running street papers and the opportunities they provide for vendors, whose numbers are swelling across the country. But it’s also important to recognize the role street papers play in informing the community, which brings us to…

Thing 2: The Society of Professional Journalists has honored Rosette Royale of Real Change with an excellence in journalism award for a feature he wrote last year on a man who jumped to his death from Seattle’s Aurora Bridge.

Rosette did more than seven months of research for the three-part series, “The Man Who Stood on the Bridge.” He talked to Street Roots about the story last July.

SPJ’s national Sigma Delta Chi awards had over 900 nominees in 53 different categories. Rosette’s story won for best feature writing in a paper with a circulation under 100,000. The story is missing from Real Change’s website at the moment, but we’ll try to get a link up soon. (Update: The Seattle P-I has posted a PDF file of the series, which you can download here.)

Congratulations, Rosette and Real Change!

Posted by Mara Grunbaum

Rosette Royale talks Real Change

To write this series, Real Change (Street Roots sister paper in Seattle) staff reporter Rosette Royale obtained close to 600 pages of documents from the Department of Corrections (DOC) through multiple public disclosure requests. Supporting documentation was also obtained through numerous websites. Interviews were conducted with more than 20 individuals, including family, friends, former prisoners, mental-health professionals, and DOC personnel.

Any quotes attributed to Bret derive from DOC documents where he was directly quoted by others, department forms written in his own hand, or letters he’d mailed. Thoughts attributed to him stem from descriptions others made of him, whether in interviews or as part of DOC documents.

Descriptions of Longview and Kelso, WA, the Lewis and Clark Bridge, the home of Nancy and Clinton Erckenbrack come from a one-day visit the reporter made to southwestern Washington. Descriptions of Twin Rivers come from two separate visits to the prison made this past spring and summer. Descriptions of the Capitol Hill hotel he lived in upon his release are based upon numerous firsthand visits.

Descriptions of the Aurora Bridge and surrounding areas are based upon multiple firsthand visits the reporter made to the site. Measurements of the bridge either come from various websites or were ascertained through measurements conducted by the reporter himself. Other descriptions of Bret or his environs are based upon the memories of those who knew him.

The narrative of the last moments on the bridge stems from interviews, a police report of the incident, and a “Computer Assisted Dispatch,” a transcript of law enforcement communication in relation to the incident.

The series got its genesis from a police incident report printed in the Street Watch column of Real Change last autumn. The entire reporting process lasted more than seven months.

The man Who Stood on the Bridge (Part 1: All around him, bridges)

The Man Who Stood on the Bridge (Part 2: Waiting, on the inside)

The Man Who Stood on the Bridge (Part 3: Home, it’s better than prison)