Talking about narrative journalism, The St. Petersburg Times’ Lane DeGregory once told me
“One of the stupidest stories I ever did had the biggest response. It was an ‘up all night’ piece about what happens between midnight and 6:00 am. I had all these old ladies calling me up and saying, ‘I’m never up that late, and I didn’t know about any of this.’ It was so gratifying to take readers someplace.”
Taking readers someplace they are unlikely or unable to go is a prime service narrative can provide. Witness these two nicely done but very different stories:
Supermarket, superstores—why not a supertemple? “The Many Gods of Ilford,” a Guardian trend essay on multi-god Hindu temples in former recreation centers, touches on religion and tolerance while revealing that cockroaches can evoke nostalgia. A few useful posted comments about disability, caste, and monotheism add to Abhinav Ramnarayan’s original piece.
Over at The Daily Beast, Tim Mohr’s “Did Punk Rock Tear Down the Wall?” looks at the East German ’80s punk scene and recounts the career of Die Anderen (“the Others”), a band that straddled the East-West divide.
What other keyhole views into history or a community have generated memorable narratives? We’d like to hear from you.