Contest Entries

Fixing Mr. Fix-It

Entrants: Diane Suchetka

Affiliation: The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

Large Newspapers (over 250,000 circ.) & wire services

Year: 2008

Place: First Place

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

Plain Dealer reporter Diane Suchetka looks at the problems that beset the survivor of a horrendous accident and its toll on his family as they strive to adjust to their new roles.

Judges' comments: Three surgeons reattached Norman Miller's arms the day they were severed in a work accident. Months rolled by as Miller struggled to regain enough function to go to the bathroom by himself and hug his wife, as his family faced financial ruin. Meticulously reported and impossible not to read from the top ("Nobody calls him Mr. Fix-It. But they wouldn't argue with you if you did.") to the end. ("Nobody calls him Mr. Fix-It. But after all this, maybe they'll start.") Written with empathy but never maudlin.

Read "Fixing Mr. Fix-It."

See the contest questionnaire in which the reporter writes about how this story was written.