Sunday, January 8, 2012

How we got Nikki's story

Laura C. Morel
Crime/Immigration Reporter

As journalists, we get caught up with wanting to know what's going on. It's our job, after all. But sometimes, it's good to pause for a moment during a chaotic news day and think beyond the "what" factor.

When the Bradenton Herald reported that a 29-year-old woman's body was found in a ditch on University Parkway last month, one paragraph in a story piqued my interest:
In Sarasota, Scott has a history of drug-related arrests and has been convicted several times, according to Sarasota County court records.
In 2008, Scott was convicted of robbery by sudden snatching in Sarasota. She had several convictions for drug-related charges in 2009 and 2010, according to Sarasota court records.
But why? I searched her name on Facebook. Maybe she had a public profile. Sure enough, there was a Nicole Rose Scott memorial page. It showed photographs of Nicole, known as Nikki by loved ones, with her children. Friends left comments on the wall. One reads, "I know you were trying to turn your life around."

I left a post on the wall. The next day, I got a call from Nikki's close friend. The story launched after that. That friend put me in touch with other loved ones. Those loved ones knew others who would be willing to talk to me.

In about a week, I had the first draft of today's article that tells the story of a young girl whose life began and ended tragically. Nicole Rose Scott's story is not just about what happened to her. It's not just about her criminal record.

It is also about who she was and what parts of her short life led her to a troubled path.

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