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Between the Weather and the Elections...

Matt Schudel

... Interesting people are still leaving this frail crust of earth. I'm biased, of course, but I thought the most compelling story in the paper today (Wednesday, Feb. 13) was Joe Holley's obituary of Glenn E. Wise, an inventor and official at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Joe has been cultivating a new kind of obit "lede," as we spell it in the news biz, by summarizing a person's character or ineffable qualities, rather than describing his achievements and career. Thus, we learn that Wise "could never leave well enough alone" and that anything all, from a feeding bird to his own breathing difficulties, were "targets of his incessant urge to tinker, to innovate, to improve."

I think this is a fresh, bold approach that allows a reader into a subject's thinking with an immediacy and intimacy that we don't often find in any kind of journalism.

And if you're curious about people who are famous for a minute, then seemingly disappear from the public stage, you might want to take a look at the life of Amber Scholtz, a stunningly beautiful woman who was the It Girl on the embassy and Capitol Hill party circuit, circa 1975. She was so prominent in that high-powered world, in fact, that the Post ran a huge profile of her. She died in Paris in January. Last Sunday's Local Life, in case you missed it, fills you in on the rather surprising and touching turns her life took in the years since.

By Matt Schudel |  February 13, 2008; 5:15 PM ET  | Category:  Matt Schudel , Washington DC-area people
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thanks for thinking my dad's obituary was compelling. we thought so too. it's amazing and remarkable when one person takes an interest in someone else's life and can capture it so well without ever having met the person directly. a great big thanks to joe and also to the post for supporting this style of writing.

Posted by: Joan Wise | February 16, 2008 3:37 PM

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