While some news outlets have taken the last few days before the convention to give a long, searching look at pressing subjects such as Sen. Kerry’s birthplace and the candidate’s “soft side”, the San Diego Union-Tribune has spent the week printing a biographical series that, of all things, might actually help its readers learn about the Democratic candidate.

As the spectacle known as the Democratic National Convention commences, many voters will get their first real look at the candidate. And we can think of no better way to start that off than with a hard look from a local newspaper.

On Monday the Union-Tribune detailed Kerry’s political ambitions, from his years at St. Paul’s School to his interactions with President Kennedy. Then on Wednesday, the paper ran a chronicle of his Vietnam years detailing his firefights as a Swift Boat commander, his role as a vocal protestor against the war after his return home, and how his war experience has played into this year’s campaign. And today, the paper features a profile of the candidate’s years in the Senate that describes his foreign policy experience in the context of the election.

And as the reality-show-cum-political-theater of the convention begins, it’s nice to know that someone, at least, thinks the substance behind the stagecraft is worth pointing out.

Thomas Lang

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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.