Like a lot of people, last week I reread the story that made Jimmy Breslin famous. It has his greatest hallmark: writing about the little guy, in this case Clifton Pollard, who was paid $3.01 an hour to dig the grave of his assassinated president. But it is this line, about the patrician first lady, that stays with me. Maybe it’s because Breslin, with his working-man’s soul, was feeling the same thing as everyone lining the cortege route: that their sad, lonely queen would show them the way out of the darkness. … Read More

Narrative News

The oranges of John McPhee, on the page and on backyard trees

March 24, 2017

A weekly roundup of some favorite things, for your reading and listening pleasure

5 Questions

5(ish) Questions: Rania Abouzeid and “The Jihad Next Door”

March 23, 2017

The Beirut-based writer talks about the dangers of reporting her Politico piece on extremists in Iraq and Syria, and why on-the-ground reporting is vital

Why is it great? This line, from the poet Elizabeth Alexander’s beautiful memoir about the death of her husband, knocked me out on a couple levels. First, I had no idea that Henry Ford and … Read more

Annotation Tuesday!

Annotation Tuesday! Rich Schapiro and “The True Story of the Fugitive Drug Smuggler Who Became an Environmental Hero”

March 21, 2017

The writer, who splits his time between tabloid reporting and deep dives, talks about how one prepares him for the other. (And kudos to Outside magazine, on a longform roll.)

Narrative News

The unexpected benefits of a springtime blizzard: reading a book by candlelight

March 17, 2017

A weekly roundup of some favorite things, for your reading and listening pleasure

Notable Narratives

Notable Narrative: Daniel Miller and the Los Angeles Times’ “Selling Stardom”

March 16, 2017

The show business reporter takes a walk on the seamier side of Hollywood, and meets a lot of wannabes with broken dreams (plus an agent who breaks down in front of him)

Why is it great? Have you ever read a book and found it hard to get over a terrible first line? You want to move on, and the other 100,000 sentences in the book may … Read more

5 Questions

5(ish) Questions: Diarmid Mogg and the crazy-compelling “Small Town Noir”

March 14, 2017

The Scotsman's website is a rabbit hole of midcentury mug shots and the stories of the everyday people of a Pennsylvania town at probably the worst moment in their lives

Narrative News

Let’s hear it for women writers like Dorothy Parker and Zadie Smith the *other* 364 days

March 10, 2017

A weekly roundup of some favorite things, for your reading and listening pleasure

Why is it great? With this opening line to her famous short story, Parker does so many things: She gives us an image of Hazel that’s Kodachrome clear: I can almost hear the old-fashioned pop … Read more

5 Questions

5(ish) Questions: Jesse Lenz and The Collective Quarterly magazine

March 9, 2017

The co-founder of the "slow journalism" publication says its aim is to create an outlet for journalists who are willing take time with a story and “show genuine interest in another human being"

Notable Narratives

Notable Narrative: Bernt Jakob Oksnes and “The Baby in the Plastic Bag”

March 7, 2017

The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet bucked the short-attention-span trend by committing to a nine-part serial -- and it paid off both in readers and a powerful narrative about an infant left for dead