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#NPRreads: 3 Stories That Go Behind The Headlines

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

From Digital Editor Joe Ruiz:

I remember watching Paula Broadwell during her January 2012 appearance on "The Daily Show" to promote her biography of Gen. David Petraeus. I enjoyed the interview and made a note to read the book.

I never did.

The next time I thought about it was when news broke of the relationship she had with the general and the inevitable fallout.

But this story isn't about the incident, but more the aftermath and its ingrained unfair treatment of Broadwell, and of women in similar situations. It also speaks to her efforts to fight unfair portrayals of women in the media.

And so the public inquisition into the "mistress" began, with everything from her fitness acumen ... to her body fat (13 percent) to her "usually tight shirts and pants" scrutinized. She was called, by a senior military source, "a shameless self-promoting prom queen" who "got her claws" into him. She was "curvaceous," with "expressive green eyes."


Mr. Petraeus, meanwhile, was described by former aides as "the consummate gentleman and family man." ... When he resigned, the president offered his prayers for the general and his wife; the Petraeus family, friends lamented in the news media, would get through this.

From News Desk Editor Barbara Campbell:

Zoos have tried to set up their facilities in a way that heads off the heartbreaking choice the Cincinnati Zoo made last weekend – shooting to death a healthy young gorilla to save a small child who fell into the enclosure.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about "landing zones" for humans who fall in, emergency teams on call, and indoor vantage points where glass protects the animals from their fans and vice versa.

The Associated Press also has a good look at the emergency response experts.

From Two-Way Writer Bill Chappell:

Journalism's perennially imminent demise often generates two things: buzzwords (as in: "Let's reimagine our play in the content delivery space") and stories that examine how traditional media (including NPR) might survive the era of digital disruption.

Many essays on news companies' strategies rely on anonymous sources. It's rare to get an inside look at the thinking of a place like Tribune Publishing, the Chicago media company that announced ambitious changes this week — along with an odd new name: "tronc."

The change prompted both head-scratching and snarky bemusement, particularly on Twitter, where you could say that when life handed them tronc, tweeters attempted to make the best troncade they could.

Along with giving some of the business background to the decision, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple writes that the tronc release brings us "perhaps the most concentrated mess of buzzwords that digital publishing has ever seen, and that's some feat."

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Joe Ruiz
Barbara Campbell
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.