Longform specialist Jeff Maysh has a penchant for telling genre-breaking stories about people with secret lives. There’s the mom who assumed her daughter’s identity to return to high school; the Michigan farmer who made millions smuggling rare Pez dispensers into the U.S.; the undercover cops whose sham marriage helped nab a dozen drug dealers.

bombshell-mugAnd then there is the story of the Bombshell Bandit, Sandeep Kaur, a twentysomething Sikh nurse from Sacramento who robbed a series of banks to repay gambling debts.

Although his subjects could not appear more different, Maysh says that at their core, his stories are essentially the same.

“All of the people I write about are leading double lives, so I kind of know where to look,” Maysh said. “I’m just drawn to that kind of character, living a double life, and always trying to figure out why.”

It all began when Maysh was growing up in south London around the police and crime. When he was 14, a close family member, an undercover cop, was sent to prison, and Maysh visited him there often.

One thing I … Read More

Story Craft

The poetics of documentary at the Camden International Film Festival

September 22, 2016

Film editor Joe Bini talks about finding the true story in images rather than words, and two films test that theory (and throw in some poetic words, too)

A week ago, the Nieman Foundation hosted a fabulous event celebrating the Pulitzer’s Centennial. The theater was gorgeous, the stars  A-list (Robert Caro, Laura Poitras and Bob Woodward, to name a few), the production flawless. Read more

When the historian Robert Caro spoke at the recent Pulitzer Centennial event hosted by the Nieman Foundation, one emotion was palpable: outrage. Fifty years after he wrote about the Roth family and a … Read more

You don’t have to be a “Hamilton” groupie to love this wonderful interview that Nieman Foundation Curator Ann Marie Lipinski did recently with the blockbuster play’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. (But if you are … Read more

5 Questions

5(ish) Questions: René Koster and a stunning voyage to Antarctica

September 15, 2016

The Dutch photographer took "a journey of longing, to a time that once was; a heroic saga, filled with hardship and adventure, in an infinite, barren land"

Narrative News

The badass women of the Qur’an: “An Emancipatory Reading”

September 12, 2016

A feminist Moroccan scholar is among those trying to take back the narrative of Islam's holy book

Just in time for the weekend, here’s a little list of some of the things I’ve been listening to and reading this week, some of it online — Storyboard included, natch — and some of … Read more

The Pulitzer at 100: Michael Parks and the unraveling of apartheid

September 8, 2016

Former foreign correspondent Scott Kraft reflects on an unflinching portrait of a nation on the brink of historic change by his Los Angeles Times predecessor in South Africa

Annotation Tuesday!

Annotation Tuesday! David Wolman + Julian Smith and “The Cold War”

September 6, 2016

The writers talk about that rarest of beasts -- the funny longform narrative -- and going all "Rashomon ice cream war" for their Epic magazine piece

5 Questions

5(ish) Questions: Photographer Niki Boon on documenting her children “Wild and Free”

September 1, 2016

Reminiscent of Sally Mann's work, her photos summon the childhood many people had for moments, maybe on a camping trip, or wish they had

Just in time for the weekend, here’s a little list of some of the things I’ve been listening to and reading this week, some of it online — Storyboard included, natch — and some of … Read more

Annotation Tuesday!

The Pulitzer at 100: Taro Yamasaki and life inside Jackson State Prison

August 30, 2016

The photojournalist talks about how he got unprecedented access — and images — inside the world's largest walled prison