Tag Archives: Washington Post

Gene Weingarten’s Pulitzer

If you’ve followed the Pulitzer coverage, you’ve probably come across veiled references to the devastation of Gene Weingarten’s piece on children left in cars. We linked to it a year ago, and can’t recommend it enough. If you’re up for being emotionally mauled.

Antarctica’s Dry Valleys

This is a few years old, but Twitter pointed me to this Washington Post slideshow of George Steinmetz photos from Antarctica. Did you know the continent has “dry valleys” without any ice?

The full slideshow is worth your time, especially with the eerie music.

This Week’s Best Profile

Multi-Pulitzer Prize winner, Carol Guzy, has a photo essay on the “journey to the shadow of death” of Classie Morant, who died recently at age 104. It’s here. There’s also a short essay:

Like many elderly people feeling a loss of power, Classie would lash out at those closest to her. A tantrum over Tylenol was particularly combative and quite out of character. From her time with Rozzie, she also knew all the tricks. She would hold the pills she didn’t want in the back of her mouth until no one was looking, and they would find their way into a folded napkin destined for the trash.Classie began facing her own mortality. She sent Ann looking for a pink outfit, presumably for her funeral. “She’s giving up,” Ann said, “a little more each day.” Sometimes anxiety would overwhelm her, and she would repeat a phrase for hours. “Oh, Lordy” would reverberate through the house.

Thoughts on old age, in general? It sounds unbearably terrible to me. But I suppose the alternative ain’t any better.

I didn’t know this yesterday

“The dirty secret of the Billboard classical charts is that album sales figures are so low, the charts are almost meaningless. Sales of 200 or 300 units are enough to land an album in the top 10.”

Someone once quoted me a remarkably low number of book sales required to get on the NY Times Bestseller list. I have no way of knowing if it’s even close, so I won’t repeat it, but it’s mildly depressing.

(Via Marginal Revolution)

Chuck Klosterman on Interviewing

Chuck Klosterman is a divisive writer, one whose opaque references to Mork and Mindy and Xavier McDaniel thrill some and confound others. I fall somewhere in the middle (like most, I suspect), thrilled 40% of the time, confounded another 40%, and generally appeased for the remaining 20%. Chuck’s got a new book, and here he talks about interviewing with the Washington Post:

I had 45 minutes with [Britney Spears]. The assumption is that you can’t do a good piece with that limited access…[but if] you want to ask questions that change or amplify or improve the way someone would experience [her] art, forty-five minutes is more than enough time. [Journalists assume that], if you spend a week with someone, you’ll pick up on details of their life. But no one is ever going to act like themselves around a journalist. If somebody spent a month with me and wanted to write a story about me, I wouldn’t be myself.*

More (surprisingly) good stuff, if you click through. It’s brief, I promise.

*That involved a lot of bracketing.

Good writin’

Good friend Kevin Armstrong writes at SI.com about the “best” newspaper sports department of all time: the 1970s Boston Globe. I can’t really argue with this, particularly given the names that come up on the list: Gammons, Ryan, McDonough, etc. But I can offer one alternative: the 1990s Kansas City Star.

The columnists: Joe Posnanski and Jason Whitlock. If you’re a sports fan, you know them. Can you say that about any other small-market’s sports columnists?

The reporters: Wright Thompson (ESPN.com’s best writer), Jason King (Yahoo’s college football and basketball guy), Dick Kaegel (now with MLB.com), Mechelle Voepel (women’s bball at ESPN), and Ivan Carter (Wizards beat reporter for the WaPo).

That’s my vote. Any other nominees?

And a related note: it appears SI just redesigned its site today. Take a look, and compare to, say, ESPN or Yahoo Sports. The biggest difference? When I load up SI, I have to scroll down before I get any actual news. Hopefully they change that…

“The child pulled all her hair out before she died.”

Multiple times while reading this story, I stopped. Stunned. The topic is about as gut-wrenching as it gets. But the writing, the pacing, the storytelling, make the story that much more remarkable. This is the way to write a trend story – those icon’s of journalistic idiocy. Here’s one example:

The answer to the problem, Fennell believes, lies in improved car safety features and in increased public awareness that this can happen, that the results of a momentary lapse of memory can be horrifying.

What is the worst case she knows of?

“I don’t really like to . . .” she says.

She looks away. She won’t hold eye contact for this.

“The child pulled all her hair out before she died.”

Your favorite examples of a good trend story?