Check this interview with journalist David Finkel on KQED-FM, San Francisco's NPR station. Finkel, a Pullitzer-winner from the Washington Post, and one of my favorite magazine writers, talks about his 13 month immersion with a battalian of soldiers in Iraq. The result? His book, "The Good soldiers", gives a searing account of the price of war from the soldier's perspective.
All of which points to the value of both immersion journalism -- and going into a story with an open mind.
Magazine students might remember him as the author of "TV Without Guilt" and "The Last Housewife in America," both immersion projects that took the reader inside what could have been touchy subjects -- without agenda or judgement.
When he was awarded the Pullitzer for feature writing some years back, he said something like this in his acceptance speech: Start with an idea, but wait for the story. Love it. bk