Two years ago, no one outside of his family and friends much knew, or seemed to care, about the death of Henry Glover, a 31-year old man whose incinerated body was found in a burned car on the banks of the Mississippi.
Thanks to the sustained, effective reporting of ProPublica's A.C. Thompson, the world found out what happened. Glover was shot by one police officer. He died in custody. His body was set afire by another officer. And the circumstances of the case were covered up by yet another police official paid to protect the citizens of New Orleans.
Over the past two years, Thompson's work has become a model of journalistic collaboration. He began the reporting with support from the Nation Institute, joined ProPublica, and has since worked with reporters from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans and the PBS program FRONTLINE.
The debate will doubtless continue about Henry Glover's death and whether justice was fully served. Three officers were convicted Thursday on charges that included manslaughter, lying to federal agents, and burning Glover's body. Two other officers were acquitted of all charges (one of whom still an active police officer, acknowledged on the witness stand that he stood by as a colleague doused Glover's body with an accelerant and ignited it.)
But this much is clear. A single reporter, armed with only a pen, a pad, and a determination to find the truth, can make a difference.