Rossi is handed records which prove that a doctor is illegally prescribing drugs. When the story runs and it is suspected that the records may have been obtained by illegal means, Rossi is told to either reveal his source or go to jail.
After a homicide occurs in the city, Billie finds out that the victim was a prostitute who worked at a "spa" business. While investigating, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the victim's co-worker who does not seem to fit the stereotypical profile of a hooker.
Billie is upset because her story, about a courageous black woman who is slain in her own apartment, is relegated to the back pages while Rossi's story, about an elderly white woman who fights off burglars, makes the front page.
Art Donovan's mother is dying, but he is having trouble accepting this as fact. His relations with everyone in the newsroom suffer as his mother gets worse, and his colleagues try to help him come to terms with the inevitable.
Lou, Charlie, and Donovan interview students from an inner city school for the purpose of awarding a college scholarship to a journalism major. While Charlie and Donovan recommend a straight-A student, Lou pushes for a student who kicked a drug habit and got tutoring to improve his grades. Rossi and Billie uncover disturbing trends of violence at the same inner city school.
Lou visits his home town while on vacation and meets his old boss who now runs the town's newspaper. While there, an outbreak of an unknown cattle disease gets Lou's attention when it's suggested the disease could be transmitted to humans.
Lou clashes with the new media consultant who believes that the paper should do more trashy stories to cater to the younger crowds. One of those stories has Billie and Rossi investigating the "singles" scene by going out on dates through a computer service. While Rossi has trouble finding time with his date, Billie has trouble getting rid of her date.
Rossi uncovers conflicts of interest on the staff, including Lou, and writes a story that sets off fireworks in the city room. Mrs. Pynchon tells Rossi to keep an eye out for mistakes in the Tribune but doesn't realize just how far he'll go until he takes on a campaign by her pet charity.
Animal's erratic behavior touches off a Tribune inquiry into the plight of the all-but-forgotten Vietnam veteran who is treated much differently from servicemen in other wars. Lou, in trying to help Animal and the likeable Sutton, discovers that years after Vietnam, too many veterans are still unemployed or otherwise under strain from their experience.
Looking for a place to invest a $5,000 windfall, Lou gets a shocking look at white collar crime when he uncovers a clever financial scheme run by a sharp con man. He learns there are shady characters only too willing to put his money in their pockets, but has trouble convincing at least one victim ? Charlie Hume ? of what's going on.
After Lou sees an Immigration Department sweep of his favorite Mexican restaurant, the Tribune uncovers a grim and unsettling picture of what's happening to illegal aliens. At the same time, Lou has to cope with a new addition to the city room staff ? Mrs. Pynchon's spoiled niece ? who turns out to be ill-equipped for the job of copy girl.
The city is thrown into panic when the Tribune's star columnist writes a column that Lou fears could incite a serial killer to strike again. The reporter who covered the so-called "Samaritan" slayings years before is assigned to draw up a profile that might lead to the madman, and the staff fans out to follow his clues.
A mother, obsessed with tracking the hit-and-run driver who killed her son, arouses Rossi's fighting instincts and leads to a human interest story with an unexpected payoff. Meanwhile, after Lou and Mrs. Pynchon have separate encounters with hostile citizens, Billie is assigned to find out if there's a story in the use of cars as weapons.
A helpless old lady in a wheelchair is dumped in a county office because of a bureaucratic wrangle, and this sets the staff onto a searing Tribune expose of shoddy nursing home practices. Billie gets a job at a nursing home for a shocking insider's report on care for the elderly, while Lou learns from a retired hat maker that, in too many cases, this country's old people are regarded as non-persons.
The city room hears that a radical group plans to kidnap a VIP at a publishers' convention attended by Lou and other Tribune executives. Lou, a reluctant delegate at the convention, fends off the aggressive job-hunting tactics of flamboyant newsman Jack Riley as Rossi and Billie try to get a lead on the kidnapping report.
In a news-packed day, Lou feels the pressure as he sets up coverage of a tunnel cave-in and a human fly climbing a skyscraper, knowing that a resentful Donovan has been offered a better paying job. The hard pressed Lou also has to answer questions of a Swedish tour group, cope with a familiar kook (Mr. Dreyfus) who brings news of outer space, and find an assignment for a youthful city room intern.
Could an individual build an atomic bomb? Lou gets a terrifying answer when a terrorist threatens to detonate a nuclear device and provides the Tribune with detailed plans as proof. Facing the terrorist's deadline in checking out the story, Rossi has another personal problem: he's been dating Hume's daughter and knows his boss doesn't like her to get interested in any reporter ? especially Rossi.
A series of Skid Row stranglings turn out to have special meaning for Lou, who discovers his former doctor is now a bum, and for Rossi, who has his own reason for hating drunks. Lou is astonished to find that his once skilled surgeon is defiant about living on Skid Row, and Rossi for once tries to get out of working on a story.
Romance hits the Tribune, but not the hearts and flowers kid: Lou gets an unexpected offer from Susan, and Billie meets teenagers who have babies to escape from home. Rossi finds good reason to be cynical in the story of a rock singer being sued for community property by his former live-in girlfriend.