St. Petersburg Times

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Bursting into song and leaping out the window

By Short Takes November 4, 2009

We often highlight stories from reporters who are well-known in the world of narrative journalism, but a lot of unsung writers slip narratives into print and online daily. Here are some moving stories with sharp scenes or imagery from three people we bet you’ve never heard of. “Sacia's Promise,” from Kaitlin Manry of The (Everett) Herald: "She remembers waking up in the middle of the night, just 2 or 3 years old. Her nightgown is wet. So is her bed. She walks into the living room, calling for her mom. She's not there. Sacia instead finds a stranger, a man, dividing piles of little white rocks spread across the coffee table. The pearly white stones are like baby teeth and crumble when he touches them. She runs back to her bed and stays up all night, kneeling on wet sheets, waiting for a mother who never comes." Read more » Read more

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

By Narrative News 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, 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

Starting with pictures

By Digital Storytelling September 25, 2009

The St. Petersburg Times’ latest narrative project started with photographer John Pendygraft’s wife giving him an assignment.  A medical reporter, she had been covering the policy issues of the health care debates, … Read more

For Their Own Good

By Notable Narratives July 10, 2009

July’s first Notable Narrative tells a story of abuse at The Florida School for Boys. St. Petersburg Times reporters Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore use the account of one man—William Haynes, Jr.—as the core of their piece, while managing … Read more

The Girl in the Window

By Notable Narratives November 7, 2008

“The Girl in the Window” is the story of Dani, a child so removed from normal human community she has been labeled “feral.” In this St. Petersburg Times piece, Lane DeGregory walks along a delicate tightrope, exploring an abused child’s … Read more

Shuttle Diplomacy

By Notable Narratives November 12, 2006

Allison focuses his profile on Nelson’s volunteer mission on the space shuttle, using details about Nelson’s behavior on the shuttle to portray him as a slightly nerdy politician who’s also—surprise, suprise—just a little opportunistic. Read “Shuttle Diplomacy,” by … Read more

Free Wheelin’

By Notable Narratives September 17, 2006

This short piece entertains while providing an appropriately complex portrayal of a man who has suffered but whose spirit, or will anyway, seems irrepressible. We particularly liked the opening line for its writerliness, and the ending quote for the way … Read more

Looking Out for Roberta

By Notable Narratives September 17, 2006

We liked the topic of this narrative, and we appreciated Laughlin’s clarity in laying out its themes. Through a narrative approach, she reveals the cultural and legal ramifications of Sophia Addo’s death on 9/11 and the ways in which her … Read more