Lone AP Reporter Logs 300 Executions
Writer has seen more deaths than...anyone, perhaps
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 10:22 AM CDT
The "death bed" in the death chamber is separated by bars, foreground, from the witness viewing room at the Walls Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections in Huntsville, Texas.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The fever pitch of executions in Texas since the 1980s has made the taking of a life at Huntsville’s prison almost de rigueur. Newsrooms that used to send a reporter every time an inmate was put to death now rely on the AP—and one AP writer in particular: Michael Graczyk. Texas says he has witnessed more deaths than any prison official; he is perhaps more exposed to executions than any other American, the New York Times notes.

“There are times when I’m the only person present who doesn’t have a stake in the outcome,” Graczyk says. He usually watches from the viewing room reserved for the victim’s family, “because I can get out faster and file the story faster.” Papers near and far in Texas are grateful for the service. “We know we can depend on the AP, so I can send my reporters to something else,” one editor says. That doesn’t make Graczyk’s job easier.