October 2013 | Hillman Foundation

Clear It With Sidney

Notes on journalism for the common good, by Lindsay Beyerstein

October 2013

Family Speaks Out Against Rape, Loses Everything

When 14-year-old Daisy Coleman was found sprawled semi-conscious on her porch in sub-zero weather early one Sunday morning, showing signs of sexual assault, her family fought for justice against the high school football player who allegedly raped their daughter. The charges against alleged rapist and football star Matthew Barnett were dropped and the community backlash against the Colemans cost them everything. 


[Photo credit: jamestruepeny, Creative Commons.]

#Sidney's Picks: Kidnapping, Divorce, Drugs, and Abortion

The Best of the Week’s News

  • New York City parents who have lost custody of their children for alleged neglect are supporting each other in their bids to earn their kids back.

Bangladesh Clothing Factory Swept By Fire Made Merch for The Bay and Walmart

A blaze swept through the Aswad Composite Mills factory in Bangladesh, Tuesday, killing 9 workers and injuring at least 50 others. The factory made merchandise for the Hudson’s Bay Company and WalMart. This is the latest in a series of deadly industrial accidents in the garment sector in Bangladesh. Most garment workers die in fires. These deaths could easily be prevented by improving the wiring and fire evacuation systems in clothing factories. 

The 2013 Hillman Award for Broadcast Journalism went to Brian Ross and his investigative team at ABC News for reporting on garment industry deaths in Bangladesh. That same year, a special Hillman Officers’ Award was presented posthumously to Aminul Islam, a Bangladeshi labor leader who was probably murdered for his activism on behalf of garment workers. 


[Photo credit: Iconic Hudson’s Bay Blanket, by Whimsie Dots, Creative Commons.]

Rhode Island is Famous for You, Public Pension-Stealers

Rhode Island is a national trendsetter when it comes to schemes for stealing public sector pensions and funnelling the spoils to Wall Street, Matt Taibbi reports. 

Thanks to Carol in DC for the tip. 

#Sidney's Picks: Walmart, Obamacare, and Attempted Murder-for-Hire on the Silk Road?

  • But relax, Obamacare is not going to take your house.
  • Turns out, when everything is for sale, everything is for sale. The founder of the online marketplace/libertarian paradise known as the Silk Road is alleged not only to have trafficked tens of millions of dollars worth of drugs, but also to have solicited murder for hire.


[Photo credit: Wander Mule, Creative Commons.]

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Government Shutdown...

…and Now Find Yourself Sitting at Home on Furlough With Plenty of Time to Ask About.



[Photo credit: Pandabrand, Creative Commons.

Pseudo-Cure Made By Pseudo-Company

Hillman Prize-winner Alison Young exposes another dodgy dietary supplement for USA Today:

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — A Mexican dietary supplement called Reumofan has gained a loyal following in the United States as a “100% natural” treatment for arthritis and joint pain. It’s supposedly made by a company called Riger Natural from ingredients such as shark cartilage, white willow and glucosamine, or so the labels say.

But consumers who buy Reumofan products are risking dangerous side effects and trusting their lives to a company that uses fake addresses, lies about the ingredients in its products and may not even exist, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

The newspaper set out to find Riger Natural and the people responsible for producing and selling the supplement, searching corporation records and visiting addresses in Mexico where it had been listed on the Web as having a lab. Those addresses are fake and there’s no evidence the company ever had facilities in the locations. Some Mexican retailers who once distributed the product say their contacts have simply disappeared. Even Mexican health authorities have been unable to track down the company.

Riger Natural? As in Riger Mortis? Reumofan is marketed as a dietary supplement but some of these pills contain potentially toxic prescription drugs and the FDA has received reports linking the pills to bleeding, strokes, and death. 


[Photo credit: U.S. FDA.]