Below are the six posts that ranked top in 2021 in a matrix of analytics, compiled by Adriana Lacy, Nieman’s digital and audience engagement editor: Think of them as the Community Choice Awards. Before the new year, I’ll weigh in with the Editor’s Choice Awards. The analytics of that list are even less definable.
1- How a top explanatory reporter does emotional interviews: With empathy (Posted Sept. 29, 2021) Ed Yong of The Atlantic won a 2021 Pulitzer Prize for his clear-eyed, deeply reported coverage of COVID-19. In this post, he talked about how he approaches policy makers, technical experts, front-line medicare care workers and patients. By Kim Cross
2- Tracking shards of grief for 20 years, and daring to love your subjects Jennifer Senior, also of The Atlantic, combed through the ashes and aftermath of 9/11 to tell the story of how one man’s family grieved. She answered questions about gaining trust with sources, probing sensitive topics and crossing traditional boundaries. By Trevor Pyle
3- Literary Forensics: How to edit (and self-edit) from the inside out I drew on years of editing and teaching to help writers look at their own work with more clarity. I shared my diagnostic tool here. By Jacqui Banaszynski
4- Ernest Hemingway’s true and lasting writing lessons A long-time magazine editor and narrative writer pinged off a new Ken Burns documentary to share what he learned by reading Papa Hemingway. By Dale Keiger
5- How listening to foreign languages can enrich your writing An Indian-born author and essayist discovered that listening to stories from foreign cultures — even when she couldn’t understand the language — brought new depth to her own writing. By Shoba Narayan
6- Sage writing advice from the editor of Column One Steve Padilla of the Los Angeles Times led a virtual discussion on how he guides writers to high-end work, including how he uses music to explore story craft. By Madeline Bodin