How many leads can you think of that focus on smell? We admire the first seven paragraphs of this piece. They’re evocative, authoritative and efficient. Kiernan told an audience at the 2003 Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism that she did the story while she was pregnant. (Pregnancy enhances a woman’s sense of smell.) We guess that weariness and aversion served her well, leading to an original and effective opening scene.

Read “The Longest Day: Act One — A Storm Gathers,” written by Louise Kiernan. Contributors: John Chase, Monica Davey, Virginia Groark, Stephen J. Hedges, Jon Hilkevitch, Maura Kelly, David Mendell, Bonnie Miller-Rubin, Marja Mills, Alex Rodriguez, Jon Yates and Jeff Zeleny.

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