Monday, December 22, 2008

Do a critique, and marvel at the no-duh quote

I'd encourage anyone who has a few minutes to read this piece (link below) from the Denver Post about the Denver plane crash, appreciate it for what it is (the reporters worked hard to get interviews with passengers) and critique it for what it isn't -- a strong narrative on what happened when the plane skidded off the runway.

It's a good way to think about stories we do -- sometimes, during a big news event, we get good interviews for a news story, but we don't get enough deep interviews for a narrative. If you can approach stories knowing what makes the difference, you'll have a better chance of getting what you need for narrative and being able to write a great story.

The paper even had the hed for that narrative as a subhead in the story: 10 terrifying seconds. Imagine what kind of interviewing you would have had to do to truly tell that story. Thinking about that kind of thing now, when nothing is at stake, helps prepare you to go for that kind of story next time you're in that situation.

Oh, and the quote? "When the engine caught fire, I knew something was wrong."


Seriously, though. Would you have even put that in your story?

Passengers recount the terrifying DIA crash - The Denver Post