Dead Man Talking

by longformphilly

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Brian Hickey | Philadelphia Magazine | May 2009

One very strong rule dictated what I, the reporter, would cover with all my heart during 14 years reporting for newspapers down the Shore and in Philadelphia: The people I wrote about had to have experienced a helluva lot more than I had.

The woman who escaped Gary Heidnik’s basement.

The unidentifiable German whose teeth scattered across South Carolina Avenue, where he landed after swan-diving from atop an A.C. casino garage.

The North Philly grandfather whose murdered body was found in an abandoned hovel, but whose internal organs weren’t.

Milton Street.

They were among the people in whom I emotionally invested, in order that droves of readers could, too. I considered that to be the benchmark of living up to the ethical promise of my trade. I tried, and succeeded, in becoming a public name, but not a public figure.

Well, that all changed at 10:15 p.m. on November 28, 2008.

Writer bio: Brian Hickey, a South Jersey native and graduate of the University of Delaware, has written for both alt-weeklies as well as Metro Philadelphia and Hickey joined WHYY in 2011.

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