You never know what sort of response -- if any -- you will receive on a story. Sometimes you don't hear anything, which can be disheartening when you think you have written something interesting.
I received an email this morning about a column I published last Sunday. The story was on a recent book I had reviewed: "Death on Hold." The book is about Mitchell Rutledge, a convicted murderer in Alabama who had his sentence reduced from the death penalty to life without parole. Rutledge became a national figure in the early '80s when he was one of a number of death penalty convicts interviewed by Time magazine. He was the only one who expressed remorse. Over the years, he became a Christian and has done a lot to speak a culture of life into the prison system and to talk wayward youths into changing their lives before they end up in prison.
The email I received was from an official with a group that advocates for the ending of the death penalty in Tennessee. They wanted me to know about their organization and a second, similar group. I was glad to receive their email as it was the first feedback I had received on that particular story. And, I'm always on the lookout for someone to add to my contact list for possible stories down the road.
I have pasted an excerpt from Phillips below, as well as a link to my column on Rutledge:
"My name is Justin Phillips, and I am the associate director for Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. I've read your piece on Mitchell Rutledge. I've just become aware of the book, and I'm glad you found it as well. While our organization does not work with prisoners who are in for life sentences, we are of course concerned with the system as a whole and many of our members would be quite sympathetic to cases like Mr. Rutledge.
"Should you want to know anything more about our organization, based primarily in Nashville, there is web information beneath my signature line (http://tennesseedeathpenalty.org). Also, our partner organization, Tennessee Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, has enjoyed a substantial following since launching in February. Some of your readers might find them of interest, too. Their information is here:
The column that I am referencing is here: http://www.t-g.com/story/2221656.html