News

Not long ago, we didn’t have to modify the word “news.” But now, we distinguish between real and fake. The photojournalism that follows may be depressing, elating, or disturbing. But rest assured, it’s genuine, the authentic news of Philly’s life and times.
 
 
 
About 50 people protesting police brutality marched in the streets starting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Oct. 21; five were arrested at the Frank Rizzo statue. After drawing controversy, the statue of former mayor is to be relocated to site yet to be determined. Read related coverage
DAVID SWANSON
Residents in wheelchairs are evacuated during a five-alarm inferno at the Barclay Friends senior-citizens home in West Chester that left four residents dead. Read related coverage
STEVEN M. FALK
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
When I pulled up to the scene, there were dozens of seniors in wheelchairs, on ambulance litters, and some still in their beds wrapped in blankets being rolled away from the fire scene. In 40 years of covering news, I’d never seen that many people displaced at a multi-alarm fire scene. Along with the emergency medical workers, fire and police, a large number of nearby neighbors helped move the seniors away from danger.
— Steven M. Falk
 
The Frank Rizzo mural in the Italian Market was defaced in August, less than two days after the words “Black Power” were painted on the statue of the controversial mayor at the Municipal Services Building. It wasn’t the first time the mural was vandalized, but this time it was done in the wake of protests of the removal of Confederate statues and monuments in the South. Read related coverage
DAVID SWANSON
The unveiling of a statue of slain civil rights activist Octavius V. Catto was celebrated by a crowd at Philadelphia’s City Hall on Sept. 26. It is the first public statue on city property honoring a specific African American. Read related coverage
CLEM MURRAY
President Trump arrives at Philadelphia International Airport on his first trip as president. He was visiting to attend a GOP retreat along with Vice President Pence and other officials on Jan. 26. Read related coverage
ED HILLE
A throng of demonstrators march around the south side of Philadelphia’s City Hall toward the Loews Hotel, where President Trump spoke to GOP leaders. Read related coverage
CLEM MURRAY
City Councilman Mark Squilla made a splash by jumping into the pool in his work clothes at the Murphy Recreation Center in South Philadelphia on June 22. Read related coverage
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON
District Attorney Seth Williams leaves the federal courthouse in Philadelphia during his trial on bribery charges. Williams had maintained his innocence, but after several days of testimony did an about-face. He abruptly pleaded guilty and resigned on June 29, and was sentenced to five years in prison. Read related coverage
DAVID MAIALETTI
New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy takes a leap onto the stage at his victory party at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on election night Nov. 7. Read related coverage
TOM GRALISH
Katherine Appicello, 106, places her hand on Mayor Jim Kenney’s mouth as a kiss at the mayor’s 17th Centenarian Celebration at SugarHouse Casino on May 18. Kenney’s industrious second year in office earned him some fans, and some foes. The year started off with the enactment of the city’s controversial “soda tax,” a 1.5-cent-per-ounce levy on sodas and drinks with added sugar. Kenney also has been squaring off against the Trump administration over Philadelphia’s designation as a sanctuary city for immigrants. And he oversaw the return of the city’s public schools to local authority when the state-dominated School Reform Commission voted on Nov. 16 to dissolve itself.
MICHAEL BRYANT
Cosby accusers, including Victoria Valentino (left) and Lili Bernard, line up outside the court to hear the judge’s ruling on a mistrial in the entertainer's sexual-assault case. Read related coverage
ED HILLE
 
Bill Cosby faced a trial on sexual-assault charges in June in Montgomery County Court in Norristown. A mistrial was declared June 17 on the sixth day of deadlocked deliberations. A retrial is scheduled for April 2, 2018.
 
Former priest James Brzyski walks dogs at his apartment building in Dallas on Aug. 21. Read related coverage
JESSICA GRIFFIN
 
Brzyski was found by a grand jury to have sexually assaulted as many as 100 boys while he was a priest at two Philadelphia Archdiocesan parishes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The stories of some of his alleged victims were unveiled in a special report by the Inquirer and Daily News called “Stolen Childhoods,” which detailed their decades of torment.
While Brzyski admitted “several acts of sexual misconduct,” he never faced charges because the time limit to file charges had expired. He ultimately left the priesthood and roamed free for decades. Brzyski was found dead of a heart attack in a motel in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sept. 13, weeks after having been told that one of his alleged victims had killed himself.
 
Meek Mill arrives at the Criminal Justice Center with attorney Brian McMonagle for a hearing on his probation violation. The rapper was sentenced on Nov. 6 to two to four years in prison for again violating his probation from a 2008 drug and gun case.
DAVID MAIALETTI
Fifteen-month-old twins Abby and Erin Delaney, above, who were conjoined until they underwent separation surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, receive therapy from occupational therapists Ashley Binkowski (left) and Anne Borema. The twins were fused at the top of their heads before the risky separation procedure. Read related coverage
JESSICA GRIFFIN
Investigators comb the property on Lower York Road, using a backhoe, on July 12 as they search for the four missing men. Read related coverage
DAVID SWANSON
 
A manhunt for four missing young men turned deadly, with their remains found buried on a family farm in bucolic Solebury Township, Bucks County. Another teen, Cosmo DiNardo, has been charged with murder in their slayings.
 
Jana Curtis and her 3-year-old-daughter, Nolyn, were featured in an investigation by the Inquirer and Daily News, chronicled in August’s “Toxic City” report, which documented toxic levels of lead in soil at more than 80 locations in the city’s Kensington, Fishtown, and Port Richmond neighborhoods. Nolyn was diagnosed with lead poisoning after the soil in her family’s backyard tested three times higher than the acceptable limit. The state Department of Environmental Protection has since confirmed extreme levels of lead in the former industrial hub and is working on remediation. Read related coverage
JESSICA GRIFFIN
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
It was brave of Jana Curtis and her family to share their story of lead poisoning with others. This hug occurred toward the end of our time together in the park behind their house. The quiet moment of bonding between mother and child may have helped other families to connect with the issue of lead contamination in the soil.​​ It is a privilege to work on stories that have the potential to improve everyday life for people in the city of Philadelphia.
​​— Jessica Griffin
 
Korean War veteran Donald Bustard breaks down while reading a letter to his war buddy “Joe.” Bustard had embarked on a journey to find “Joe’s” family so he could find his friend’s grave and give him the goodbye he had been denied 66 years ago. Read related coverage
DAVID SWANSON
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
I knew exactly what was going to happen. I was going to lose it. Standing behind me, columnist Ronnie Polaneczky with her hand on my shoulder, let me weep as I made this photo.
— David Swanson
 
Maria Yelverton with a photo of her sons, Symir Yelverton, 23, and Raheem Martin, 24, who were shot to death outside a cousin’s house in East Mount Airy. “It’s like half of me is gone,” she said in March, on the one-month anniversary of her sons’ slayings. “I’m not the same person. I know I’m not.” Read related coverage
TOM GRALISH
An ominous storm shelf cloud looms over the Delaware Bay at sunset as seen from the North Cape May beach on June 21.
Photo by Dave Dietz
Col. John C. Church soaks in the rain during a downpour at the end of Valley Forge Military Academy’s commencement at Parade Field on June 3. Unabashed by the shower, keynote speaker Gen. H.R. McMaster, a 1980 academy graduate and now the National Security Advisor, stands stoically in the background. Read related coverage
ED HILLE
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
To me it was a beautiful moment, completely unscripted from a routine assignment on a Saturday afternoon in June.
— Ed Hille
 
The total eclipse of the sun at Boysen State Park near Shoshoni, Wyo. Read related coverage
CHARLES FOX
The statue of William Penn atop City Hall is silhouetted by the solar eclipse at 2:46 p.m. on Aug. 21. While the sun was completely eclipsed in some parts of the country, Philadelphia saw only an 80 percent blackout.
MICHAEL BRYANT
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
Since the eclipse was not going to hit totality in the Philadelphia area, I had not gotten the required filters to shoot the sun while it was partially eclipsed in the Philadelphia area. Luckily for me and other photographers, we had overcast skies and cloud cover acted as a filter for the sun’s bright rays. It allowed me to stop the lens down but still use the statue of William Penn atop City Hall to give it a local feel. Plus, the varying density of the clouds gave the whole scene a pronounced ethereal feel. The clouds in the sky helped viewers to watch the eclipse and create a unique view.
— Michael Bryant
 
Moorland Studios Inc. workers (from left) Margaret Parrish, James Bassett-Cann, and Eliot Bassett-Cann work on the restoration of the William Penn statue on top of Philadelphia’s City Hall on June 1. Read related coverage
DAVID MAIALETTI
Rae Friday and her grandson, Anthony Michael Enos, pause at the grave of their ancestor, Little Chief, at the Sharp Nose Family Cemetery in the Wind River Indian Reservation. Little Chief’s remains were among those of Northern Arapaho children disinterred from the Carlisle Barracks Indian Cemetery for tribal burial. Read related coverage
CHARLES FOX
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
The road to this photograph leads from my hometown of Carlisle, Pa., to a hilltop cemetery in Wyoming. A week before Little Chief’s reburial, I was told that my great-uncle Dr. L. Webster Fox had operated on Little Chief’s younger brother Scott Dewey while he was a Carlisle student. During the reburial, I could see the weathered cross marking the Dewey’s resting place. I thought about many things, including my great-uncle who had passed away 28 years before my birth and the connections that reach across generations and cultures.​
— Charles Fox
 
Anna Oquendo climbs a ladder to “Campamento de los Olvidados” (“Camp of the Forgotten”) on the Rio Arecibo in Utuado, Puerto Rico, on Nov. 2. She was one of many struggling to survive amid the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Read related coverage
DAVID SWANSON
Police and concerned citizens walk the Conrail train tracks lined with trash in Kensington during a tour of the city’s largest open-air drug market in February. Read related coverage
MICHAEL BRYANT
Josh Green amid the trashed interior of the former Ascension of Our Lord Church, where addicts come and go by the dozens through once-boarded windows. Read related coverage
DAVID MAIALETTI
 
 
Hear from the photographer
Behind the lens:
Used needles litter the floor and pews of the former Ascension of Our Lord Church. Josh Green, rested agaisnt overturned pews and talked about his addiction to heroin. The curch once known as "The Cathedral of Kensington" had turned into a heroin shooting gallery. In that moment I just needed to document what I saw. It was horrifying and sad to see how heroin addiction reduces people's lives to a living nightmare.
— David Maialetti
 
Nancy Davis (left) hugs her daughter, Darlene, far right, as she holds a family photo of her sister, Valerie, at a vigil commemorating overdose victims at McPherson Square on Aug. 31. Read related coverage
DAVID MAIALETTI
Classmates attend a vigil in South Philadelphia for Salvatore DiNubile, a St. Joseph's Prep student who was fatally shot in the neighborhood. A Mastery Charter School student, Caleer Miller, was also killed in the shooting, which resulted from a dispute between two groups of teens. Read related coverage
TOM GRALISH
 
 
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