This piece is beautifully, closely reported: We admired the scene, for example, in which baby Nick’s heart rate calms as his father caresses and talks to him. This is wonderful, real, touching detail.

The piece is also plainly, unsentimentally told. There is a toughness to the writer’s stance. And yet there is also compassion.

What seems missing for such a long story—what would take this beyond really good reporting and writing to a fully satisfying story—is a clearer sense of a complication that gets resolved. We’re not talking about finding out whether the babies are going to live—we’re talking about character development. There is some arc, some sense of arrival, on the part of Nicole with her statement at the end of the piece. But that statement doesn’t resolve a question that’s set up in the beginning.

That said, we recognize that reporting for newspapers is not book writing. You go, to a large extent, with what you’ve got.

Read “For Ailing Twins’ Parents, Hope Vies With Anguish,” by Kurt Streeter

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