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New Novel Tackles Corruption, Journalism And The Law

Cover of Jon Buchan's book, 'Code of the Forest'
http://www.jon-buchan.com/code-of-the-forest/
/

South Carolina lawyer Jon Buchan is fond of saying that all journalists and attorneys have at least one good novel in them. He's been mulling his for years, but he's finally finished and published it. "Code of the Forest" tells the story of a scrappy newspaper, trying to survive an onslaught by a senator determined to silence it. It examines the subtle underpinnings of corruption.

Buchan says that corruption, as he portrays it in his book, is a much more subtle form of influence. One that might infect a politician before they realize it's too late.

"The key is... politics after all is a culture of favors," he said. "Even at its best and purest, it's a culture of trading and favors."

That creates slippery ground for politicians to walk on and can lead them to step over the line.

Buchan drew upon his experience as a reporter at the Charlotte Observer, as well as his current career as a first amendment lawyer, to construct the story.

Buchan is worried about the future of newspapers, but he is encouraged that papers like Raleigh's News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer continue to focus on their primary missions.

"I think both of those papers...have kept the core of their reporting staff," he said. "The key investigative watchdog reporters. Those folks are still there. It's easy to say that these papers aren't what they used to be. But at their core, look at the prizes they're winning..."

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.