“The Crossing is the longest series the Denver newspaper has ever done. Reporter Kevin Vaughan, photographer Chris Schneider and videographers Tim Skillern and Laressa Bachelor chronicle the aftermath of the day in 1961 when a passenger train hit a school bus in the farm country an hour north of Denver, killing 20 of the 36 children aboard.
“Vaughan tracked down and interviewed members of all but three of the families involved. He shows how the accident affected their lives and the strange twists and turns that fate brought them. The series occupies two pages a day in the newspaper and includes 22 videos, 33 slide shows, historical documents and an annotated sourcing for each story online.”
This is a thorough, intimate and sad account — one for the “endangered children” file. We thought the first chapter teetered on mawkishness, but further along found the suspense, characters and setting engrossing. Vaughan’s structuring is worth paying attention to: the closing and opening of chapters, the mix of reconstruction and direct reporting.