The Washington Post Magazine

Tom Shroder, former Washington Post Magazine editor, on dinner plates and well-done narrative

By Words October 28, 2009

This week, I had a chance to talk by phone with Tom Shroder, who took a buyout from The Washington Post earlier this year. Shroder specializes in long-form narrative stories and recently launched his own editing site, and so I was curious what he would have to say about the current state of narrative journalism. In our conversation, he dishes on a common mistake made by narrative freelancers, talks about the genesis of one of the best newspaper narratives ever written, and a offers up a considered defense of poop jokes. Here's a taste: Where a lot of narrative journalism went wrong was that it became all about the writing, and not about the details for the story and the facts behind it. People felt they could throw some words at people and dazzle. But even good writers need to start with an exceptional set of facts. Read the full interview » Read more