Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chris Jones talks about his Esquire feature on Roger Ebert

Chris Jones has a long profile of film critic Roger Ebert in this month's Esquire. It's about how Ebert is dealing with cancer that has resulted in, among other things, the loss of his jaw and his ability to speak.

Jones says in an interview with journalism.about.com that he was self-conscious about writing about Ebert -- "You're writing about a great writer" -- and was nervous about what the famous critic might say about the piece.

Interesting that Jones was worried about how his subject would react. I would have liked to have seen him address how/whether that influenced anything he wrote.

He didn't address that in the interview, but he did deliver this advice to reporters:

"Come up with a great story idea. Do the reporting. Lots of it. Then, when it's time to write, get out of the way and let the story tell itself.

"Students tend to think of just the writing part of things, but because of my newspaper background I take reporting more seriously. If you have solid reporting then everything else is simple."