Friday, January 29, 2010

Echoes of Katrina

What's happening in Haiti evokes what happened in New Orleans in 2005. This is a powerful video storytelling project, called "An Unnatural Disaster," about what's happened since '05 and what's happening now in New Orleans.

The main video includes some then-and-later photos that really bring it home. For example, in 2005, Katrina left a blasted Days Inn sign at a 45-degree angle over a small pool. Two years later it looked like the sign hadn't been touched.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Writing so sharp it hurts

Every now and then I read an essay or opinion piece that tells me more about who we can be a society than I think I want to know. Philip Kennicott, the culture critic at The Washington Post, has such a piece about the National Enquirer's (apparent) photos of Tiger Woods outside a Mississippi sexual rehab clinic.

Obviously, feel free to disagree, with me or with the piece. But as Kennicott dissects and analyzes the images -- and pretty much puts the Enquirer in his crosshairs -- I think he nails the cultural significance of those photos, the people who took them, the public's curiosity that drives that kind of news coverage, and of Tiger Woods' future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Without My Leg, I Am A Freak

Sad but compelling, important. A story, not a news bulletin or breaking news, about what is happening in Haiti:

Without My Leg, I Am A Freak: "Meg Laughlin: JIMANI, Dominican Republic At the public hospital in this border town, no one
can say how many amputations have been done since the earthquake. One surgeon says he did 32
yesterday. Another says 22 in the two days before. Mostly legs. ..."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'We in journalism have lost a guiding star'

Jacqui Banaszynski's amazing, inspiring tribute to Deborah Howell, her friend and onetime editor, who died recently.

A few words from the piece:

"Deborah said yes, without fail, to all that life asked. She said yes to love, yes to stepchildren, yes to adventure, yes to irreverence and yes to God. She said yes to the highest journalistic standards and the toughest journalistic trials, even when it cost her corporate favor or popularity with her staff."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Charles Pierce interview

Charles Pierce on writing, editing, stuff he likes, the end-of-decade narrative he did for Esquire magazine, and other things, courtesy of Neiman Storyboard.


Q: What should a good story do?

A: I want the ideas to flow from one to the other. I want them to be surprising if they can be. I want the reader to go along in the same kind of evolutionary way, to have the themes strike them at the same point in the story that they strike me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

'A gangling, raw-boned sourdough'

Chris Otto passed along this bit of cool short writing in an obit from 1935.

Chris posted it on a blog that will be called "Relics" when it has a header ... and he also posted a short, well-written explanation of why the blog is headless. Complete with a picture. Of somebody who's headless.