Saturday, July 25, 2009

How do you create a great narrative?

Jan Winburn, a great, great narrative editor who worked with Ken Fuson at the Baltimore Sun and later worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, won an award from the Dart Society, a group of journalists that work toward sensitive coverage of victims of violence. The awared recognizes exceptional work by an editor.

According to the Dart Society's Web site, some of the people she's worked with -- including Lisa Pollak, who won a Pulitzer for feature writing while at the Sun -- nominated her, saying in part:

“We learned from Jan about the indelible link between reporting and writing: that successful narratives are not just the stuff of pretty writing (as some editors believe). Instead the power lies in intensive yet delicate reporting that yields intimate anecdotes and details that allow Jan’s reporters to write with authority from another person’s view."

That's about as strong a definition of what goes into making great narrative as you'll find, I think.