Today after meeting with Liz, it made me reflect on some of the differences between this semester and last. We spent today combining my work into one page so it would be a more complete portfolio of work. And going through those old stories made me realize how little I really did last semester. I don’t want to say that I had nothing good because I did. But I’ve done almost double the work I did last semester and I did it well before the end of the semester. I also feel like I’m growing more as a journalist, as cliche as that sounds.
The final push of the semester is in the next few weeks and I really hope that I can finish strong. I’ve really enjoyed reporting this time and I’ve learned so much. A strong finish would be a perfect ending to such a great learning experience.
One of the many issues with a 24 hour news cycle is that some stories seem to just slip through the cracks or at least don’t get the attention they should. For example, this ebola outbreak in Africa right now. Although I’m very interested in the status of Flight 370, there are other things that are happening. I feel like I get updates every 2 hours from CNN about new findings about the flight but no one seems to be paying real attention to this problem in Liberia and Guinea.
I found one article but had to hunt for it on CNN about this and I think the world needs to be paying more attention. If ebola starts to spread outside of these countries, it would be the new plague. It kills 90% of those infected and spreads very easily. If anyone else read the The Hot Zone by Richard Preston in high school, you know how absolutely deadly ebola can be if it starts spreading from country to country. And yet CNN has barely a page on it. I think that priorities need to start being re-evaluated and coverage needs to be more even as of late.
Meant to post this on Monday but it got saved to my drafts instead. My apologies for its slightly delayed newsworthy-ness but I have some comments to add from lecture today anyway.
The shooting at Columbine happened when I was 6 years old, meaning that I knew almost nothing about it when it happened. In fact, I don’t even remember hearing about it, most likely because my parents shielded me from it. Therefore, I’ve grown up with very little knowledge of the shooting. Last week was the 15th anniversary of the shooting and Time re-released their magazine article on it, The Littleton Massacre… In Sorrow and Disbelief.
It was quite an undertaking because it was by no means short (nor should it have been) but I was absolutely shocked by the level of detail and beautiful language about something so tragic. I think the author Nancy Gibbs took a nightmare situation and treated it with dignity. I understood the horror that those students experienced.
Today, Hampton Stevens said something that I think fully captures why I enjoyed this piece so much. Hampton said that he thinks good journalism is good writing, that he enjoys precise language rather than just a well-reported story or life-changing subject. Not to say that those things aren’t important but that he appreciates journalism that are ultimately a great demonstration of prose.
I think that The Littleton Massacre… In Sorrow and Disbelief combines both great writing and a life-changing subject, which is hard to do. I imagine it being rather difficult to capture this spectrum of a tragedy with the intense amount of coverage this must have received at the time.
I also want to mention something else Hampton said, which is that he enjoys journalism that “moves” him and to this, I connect with perfectly. Someone can write a perfect story that’s well-sourced, well-reported, accurate and ethical. But if it doesn’t move me in some physical or emotional way, it will just get lost in the sea of my brain that is constantly being filled with new stories. It’s stories like these that I will remember 2,5,10 years from now when I reflect on great journalism.
I had the honor last week of talking to a 2013 Boston Marathon survivor, Bill Washington. At 67, he’s run 10 marathons. At 21, I can barely complete a mile so that in itself is amazing to me. But he also finished at 4:05 and the bomb went off 4 minutes later. He was lucky enough not to survive any injuries but was never less impacted by his proximity to such a horrible tragedy. And despite this, he ran again this morning at the 2014 Boston Marathon, which is also his last.
His story is inspiring and he was an absolute joy to talk to. I’m very honored that I was given the opportunity to write this story and I wish everyone who ran the marathon today the very best.
Columbia Boston Marathon survivor runs again
Bill Washington running in last year’s Boston Marathon
Less is Sometimes More
There is a natural tendency to want to over-explain something in journalism. And while I’m definitely all for making sure that all the facts are out there, there are some stories that just need the facts and that is powerful enough. This is the case for this article. It’s messages from students aboard the South Korean Ferry that just sank.
It takes a lot for me to cry, especially from a news article. But I can say very honestly that this brought me to tears. Not a single article explaining the same incident did that. Not that it should. Not every article can be like this and that’s okay. But I think that we as journalists get so caught up in the other type of story- the fact-filled, over-explained, emotionless one- that we forget to do things like this. And this is so much more powerful and thought-provoking.
There are some stories out there that have one line in them that just hit you straight in the face. In this story by the NYT, there is a line in here that just stopped me in my tracks, which is saying something since I consume a lot of media.
“If you want to learn about a city, look at its walls,”
It’s beautiful, powerful, sad, amazing and perfect. And it’s 12 words.
Granted it’s a quote so it’s by chance that you get a line as great as that. But that line pulled the entire story together for me. It’s a line that I will think about the next time I look at graffiti.
This is also just a really great article because it gave a glimpse into Greece through the most interesting frame.
After seeing a lot of stories already today about the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, I think this is one of my favorites. As writers, we sometimes forget or overlook the power of pictures. It’s in our nature to automatically assume that words are better than images. But after reading what I’ve seen today, I don’t always think that is true. Although words give you more information about the subject, these pictures capture raw emotion, a feeling lost when described in words. Granted, words are used in the pictures but in a way that reinforces the picture rather than try to
When looking at this pictures, I feel like I’m a part of these victim’s stories. It comes alive in a picture and while I would not be upset if I read their stories, I’m fully satisfied with just the picture.
(Robert X. Fogarty/Dear World)