Oprah Winfrey to feature subject of Times story 'The Girl in the Window' on Tuesday
The queen of all media, Oprah Winfrey, will devote an entire hourlong episode of her widely watched daytime talk show Tuesday to the story of a feral child first read about in the St. Petersburg Times, The Girl in the Window.
Times feature writer Lane DeGregory racked up massive online viewership levels and drew nationwide attention last year for her story on Danielle, a Plant City, Fla., girl who was discovered by police living in filth at age 7, surrounded by cockroaches, dirty diapers, human waster and worse, with no language skills and little sign she'd been nurtured at all.
She was that rarest of finds: a true feral child whose isolation and deprivations raised questions about whether she could ever have a normal life.
Winfrey's producers saw the Times story and pulled together an hourlong episode on Danielle featuring DeGregory appearing via the Skype online video system, photos by Times photojournalist Melissa Lyttle and appearances from a host of people in the child's life -- including her adoptive parents Diane and Bernie Lierow (shown above with Winfrey) and the police officer, attorneys and doctors who helped her into a new life.
The show was recorded in the fall, but Winfrey's Harpo production company took a while to put the show on the schedule.
As one major American newspaper closes and others teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, it's heartening to see that quality print journalism can still make a difference. See the episode at 4 p.m. Tuesday on WFLA-Ch. 8.