Why it’s great: Deadline reporting of natural disasters is a tightrope walk. Too little drama and events are reduced to factoids that don’t take hold in the readers’ mind or heart. Too much and a story risks becoming overwrought. As wildfires rage in a seaside resort town just outside Athens, Jason Horowitz walks that difficult line. Most of his descriptions are spare, laid out in direct subject-verb-object syntax; their power comes through concrete, reported details (the discarded blue rubber gloves of rescue crews, 48 missed calls on an abandoned cell phone, Choco Balls cereal handed out to survivors). And then that simple, cosmic line mid-way through his narrative … But the sea, too, took its toll. It defines a scene describing a vacationer’s escape and eye-witness account. It echoes the vacationer’s quote that starts the scene: “The only road,” he said, “was the sea.” It serves as a transitional device that drives the story forward through the unfolding tradegy. And it becomes the touchstone of the entire piece – specific to the moment even as it echoes the eternal forces of nature’s power that underly so much of our epic literature.