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Tag Archives: Tommy Tomlinson

Keeping it simple: On plain language

A few years ago an intern did a study of the writing that showed up in our newspaper. He ran our stories through a computer program that measured the reading level you would need to understand each piece. It turned out that my stories were written at a fifth-grade level. If I remember right, I [...]

Top 10 Top 10 Lists — storytelling edition

Because why not a list of lists? Ten* worth the storyteller’s time: 1) “130 years of must-read stories for digital journalists: five lessons from 1851-1981,” by Abraham Hyatt, editor of the data-driven investigative project Oakland Police Beat. His top three (we agree, so much, with Ben Hecht’s “The Pig”): 1: You can report on technology [...]

Best of Storyboard 2013 — reader favorites

We’ve configured this year’s Best of Storyboard roundup by category* this year, as opposed to ranking them by readership, though we’ll say that in terms of pageviews the Gay Talese/Elon Green annotation of “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” walloped every other read in the history of Storyboard, by far. Check back next week for our [...]

One anniversary, two new features

It’s a big day at Lippmann House — the new class of Nieman Fellows arrived this morning, to begin their year at Harvard. And a special year it is. The Nieman Foundation for Journalism turns 75 in September. To celebrate, Storyboard is launching two series to run between now and the end of next month. In Featured [...]

Best of Storyboard: the essence of story, in a short, haunting song (+ fried chicken)

The haunted “third of June” cannot pass without calling out Tommy Tomlinson‘s classic piece on the essence of story, via Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.” Tomlinson, a onetime Pulitzer finalist who now writes for Sports on Earth, explores the lyrics for detail, dialogue, suspense, and more. The piece was one of Storyboard’s Top 10 [...]

Everything you need to know about storytelling, in 5 minutes

I spoke to the Public Relations Society of America’s Charlotte chapter on Wednesday. They’re a good group. Sometimes I speak off the top of my head at this sort of thing, but this time I actually wrote out some thoughts, so I thought I’d post them in the spirit of Austin Kleon’s “show your work” idea. If you [...]

Top 10 Storyboard posts of 2012

We welcomed thousands of new visitors to Storyboard this year along with exciting new contributors and content. Thanks for your continued enthusiasm and support, and for helping to further the storytelling aspect of the Nieman Foundation‘s journalistic mission, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2013. To stay in closer touch, join us on Twitter at @niemanstory [...]

The essence of story, in a 358-word song

When I was little, my mama worked the early shift at the seafood plant. She’d drop me off at my Aunt Janice’s house before dawn and they’d lay me down on a pallet in the living room. Country music played low on the stereo. I knew Charley Pride and Loretta Lynn before I knew words. [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 26: Moehringer KO’s a mystery

The hell with my lede. Let’s start with his: I’m sitting in a hotel room in Columbus, Ohio, waiting for a call from a man who doesn’t trust me, hoping he’ll have answers about a man I don’t trust, which may clear the name of a man no one gives a damn about. That’s how [...]

2009 Nieman fellow Dorothy Parvaz detained: the scoop so far and what you can do

[UPDATE: Good news! Iran has allowed Dorothy to return to Qatar. For more information, read our post on Dorothy's release.] At a Nieman Foundation gathering over the weekend in Cambridge, a decade’s worth of current and former fellows joined with foundation staff to celebrate the tenure of departing Nieman curator Bob Giles. While journalists from [...]