Lou is the only witness to a neighborhood murder and is mystified by the way the police handle the case, thereby discovering a touchy area of crime. At the same time, a fatal fire in a gay bar poses a tough question for Lou: should the newspaper publish the names of the victims, knowing people will be hurt by the story. Lou is also puzzled to see a uniformed cop working a homicide case and sends Rossi to find out why, with disturbing results.
The hard drinking husband of a popular female politician makes headlines while the Trib staff makes news itself in a gossip magazine. The Trib learns a hard lesson about what happens when private lives become public from Rossi's tough coverage of elected official, Bonita Worth, and Lou's firing of a resentful reporter.
After agreeing to be guest speaker at Rossi's journalism class, Lou learns his "students" are tough state prison inmates who are angered by the shutdown of their newspaper. While Lou bucks the prison administration to help the hostile inmate editor, Hume gets the job of running the Trib during the period Mrs. Pynchon is on jury duty, and it's a learning experience for all.
A naked man on a church steeple and the editor of a sleazy porno magazine put Lou in hot water on two fronts with a common bond. The Trib's religious editor, Marcus Prescott, warns Lou he'll stir up a hornet's nest by allowing Rossi's probe into a disturbed member of the wealthy United Pilgrim Crusade.
Billie gets into the headlines when her stories questioning a big company's clean air standards brings on a costly damage suit to the Trib. Corporation Chief, Curtis Folger, may have engineered an on-again, off-again deal to get the city to ease pollution restrictions. When Billie goes after proof, she lands herself and the Trib in trouble.
While helping test a new drug, Lou learns about the "publish or perish" research at a medical center with a publicity seeking director. Eager for new grants and honors, Dr. Duncan puts pressure on youthful scientist, Todson, to speed up his experiments. At the same time, another young man surprises Lou with his occupation: human guinea pig.
The unwilling Billie finds herself in the protective custody of a male chauvinist policeman because of what she knows in a grand jury case involving a popular game show host. Lou also learns about the irony of the law when he tries to be a Good Samaritan and painfully ends up as a target in a damage suit.
Art's cousin Andrew displays violent feelings against women. His mother wants him to check into a mental institution, which Andrew accepts. Meanwhile, parts of an erotic novel keep popping up on the Tribune's computer monitors.
Lou is intrigued by the closed restaurant down the street, which turns out to have been the scene of a famous murder 25 years earlier. Animal is sent in for pictures, and becomes friends with the reclusive owner, the woman who found the celebrity's body 25 years ago.
Rossi does a story on a child actress who is secretly unhappy about being deprived of a normal childhood and decides to run away. Lou tries to spend more time with a kid from his baseball team who is neglected by his divorced parents.
The paper is on the scene of a series of brush fires in the California Valley. Charlie, who is on the verge of separating from his wife, makes a last ditch effort to save his home from the fires as well as his marriage.
The paper does a series of articles on Native Americans. Animal tries to reunite a kid who ran away from a reservation with his uncle. Billie and Lou work on a story about a Native American couple who have different ideas about family.
Rossi visits a small town where book burnings are back in fashion and a young teacher loses her job for teaching too radical ideas. Back at the Trib', Charlie refuses to publish a satirical comic strip in lieu of being sued.
Lou faces a burn-out on a particularly stressful day when everybody has something to complain about, one staffer quits, another is fired and on top of it all a 24 year old woman shows romantic interest in him.
Lou sticks his neck out to try and help Adam, who develops a serious drinking problem. However, when Adam's drinking problems gets worse and he expects Lou to keep covering for him, Lou regrets getting involved.
Checkbook journalism - payment for a new story- becomes an issue when a source wants money to document a dangerous motorbike scandal. Cold financial facts are also brought home to the staff when Hume takes a talented editor to task for padding his expense accounts.