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Tag Archives: why’s this so good?

“Why’s this (sentence) so good?” Daniel Solomon on Gore Vidal on William F. Buckley Jr.

Editor’s note: This is the inaugural installment of our “Why’s this (sentence) so good?” series, in which a writer analyzes a favorite line from a piece of journalistic storytelling. As we explained last week, we’ll fold the series into our regular “Why’s this so good?” series, the archive of which you can read here.  The [...]

In praise of the sentence

The first chapter of How to Write a Sentence (and How to Read One), by Stanley Fish, begins with this paragraph: In her book The Writing Life (1989), Annie Dillard tells the story of a fellow writer who was asked by a student, “Do you think I could be a writer?” “ ‘Well,’ the writer [...]

Meet the Storytellers: The Nieman Class of 2014

Every fellow who comes through Lippmann House is a storyteller of a sort, whether with words or visuals or data or sound. The Class of 2014 arrived from across journalistic disciplines, and from a wide range of backgrounds*, as you’ll see in this academic year’s meet-the-fellows post. As the current Niemans settle in to the [...]

“Detroit: A love story:” Chuck Salter, Fast Company, and a layered, live-storytelling approach to the tale of a desperate city

Fast Company‘s Chuck Salter recently came up with an innovative way to address the unfolding narrative that is Detroit. The city, long depressed, is now bankrupt. Unemployment stands at double the national rate; buildings have been famously abandoned; dozens of schools have closed; services are so eroded firefighters buy their own toilet paper. When Whole Foods showed up, [...]

Just one question … for Michael Graff, on the death of Earl Badu

Big buzz earlier this month when Michael Graff‘s story on the suicide of former University of Maryland basketball walk-on Earl Badu hit SB Nation‘s longform wing: You know the wish can’t come true, but people say it all the time to hide their own fears, so you’ll open with it, too: You wish he could just be happy. [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 10: Ralph Wiley tackles Jim Brown

In “Nobody Else is Jim Brown,” sportswriter Ralph Wiley constructs a profile of perhaps the greatest football player in NFL history, a man so legendary that the word legend actually applies. Written for ESPN’s Page 2, the piece shows Wiley at his best. It’s a day in the life writ large, more like a Life in [...]

The Go-Gos and the future of narrative nonfiction (or why you won’t see any new posts here for a bit)

It’s that time of year, where we take a break for a few days from the world of nonfiction storytelling to hit the beach, eat funnel cakes and read really bad fiction. (No way are we going to let a little hurricane interfere with anything as important as a vacation.) If you’re longing for Storyboard [...]

“Why’s This So Good?” No. 9: Herbert Muschamp builds a metaphor

What do Silly Putty, Superman and Marilyn Monroe have to do with architecture? Short answer: Nothing. Long answer:  Herbert Muschamp. In 1997, New York Times architecture critic Muschamp traveled to a then little-known industrial city in northern Spain to see a building. He came back with a 5,000-word swoon, which ended up on the cover [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 7: Barry Siegel and the weight of consequences

On a bright autumn morning, a man drives into the wilderness of the Utah mountains. As he arrives, the sun glows, the clouds float, the aspens glimmer in a passing breeze, “humming a faint prayer.” In the front seat of his pickup, the man’s toddler son dozes happily in the warm light. A golden moment, [...]

“Why’s this so good?” No. 6:
Alma Guillermoprieto’s view on Bogota

I first read “Letter from Bogota” in a Latin American History class in college. About 50 kids were crammed into an old, long lecture hall, the kind you see in movies about blue bloods and their schools: the dark wood floors, the lead-paned windows and the reading nook tucked into the back wall – the one that’s [...]