Tom Shroder

Gangrey's Ben Montgomery wants to grab you by the shirt collar

By Words October 29, 2009

[The second in an occasional series aimed at helping readers find online resources that focus on narrative journalism.] For more than four years, Gangrey.com has rounded up the best print narratives on a daily basis. Founder Ben Montgomery, who is also a reporter with Florida’s St. Petersburg Times, talks here about his personal motivation for starting his site and what he thinks narrative journalism can do. On what makes a good Gangrey story: Does it have something that’s surprising? Is it entertaining? Will it keep my attention? Is there some device being used that I’ve never seen before? And on the multimedia components for his latest print narrative: I couldn’t have pulled that off if it had required more effort from me. We wouldn’t have achieved the same level of—I don’t want to say excellence—the same level of story for either of those things, if both [the print story and the video] had required my attention. If journalists are required to write the story and compose the multimedia elements going into it, both parts tend to suffer. Read the full interview » Read more

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

  • 1
  • 2