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Tag Archives: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Buzz Bissinger on heart, luck, honesty, critics and the importance of switching things up

When Buzz Bissinger visited the Nieman Foundation last week, in some ways he was coming home. Twenty-six years ago, he finished his Nieman year inspired to do new and different work. He’d made his career in newspapers, most recently at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he, Rick Tulsky and Dan Biddle, also former Niemans, had just written [...]

Father’s Day, by Buzz Bissinger: an excerpt

Narrative legend Buzz Bissinger, whose books include A Prayer for the City and the No. 1 New York Times best-seller Friday Night Lights, visited his alma mater the Nieman Foundation last week for a long talk with curator Ann Marie Lipinski and the year’s outgoing class. Because this is Bissinger, the conversation was at times salty. It was at [...]

Andrew Rice on narrative and Niagara Falls: “It’s hard to believe that next to this natural wonder, there’s this amazing poverty”

We talked this week with Andrew Rice, whose “The Fall of Niagara Falls” is our latest Notable Narrative. Rice’s career has included stints at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Observer. He has also written a book, “The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget,” about a son’s search for justice for [...]

Probing a Mind for a Cure

This story received the AAAS best science writing award in 2006 for newspapers and appears in Best Science Writing 2007, edited by Gina Kolata. It’s a fine example of both matching hard science and human narrative and using strong writing and voice to lead readers through tough terrain.


Shiffman and his editor, Avery Rome, made a very complicated story readable and highly engaging by sticking closely to narrative technique.

Writing for Their Lives

As we read this series, we thought of Chip Scanlan’s discussion of using private records for insights into characters. This entire series is, in a sense, based on the private records of struggling kids. Through Snyder’s reporting on a writing program in inner-city schools, we learn a great deal about the kids’ emotional lives—and see [...]

Black Hawk Down

We found the level of action detail in this gruesome series remarkable: Bowden traces what happened when—who got shot where, shrieked, said what, shot whom, with what—with striking clarity. We imagine that spelling out each thread in the bloody narrative was a feat of structuring and planning, not to mention reporting. As we read, we [...]