Fabulous piece on the Canadian Journalism Project website on journalist Ian Brown ruminating on the joys of long form journalism. Here's what he says about our stock in trade -- information:
He thinks there are two kinds of information and that 80% of what news organizations produce is the first kind: the info that we need to know -- interest rates, traffic, what’s happening at Nuit Blanche -- but “it’s really kind of prosaic. It’s kind of like looking for your car keys instead of going on a voyage of discovery.”
There’s also a second kind of information, the information you didn’t know you wanted to know, but you are thrilled to discover that you want to. “I think that’s the kind of information that real writers -- writers who care about how you tell a story as much as the story you tell -- that’s the kind of information writers traffic in. You don’t need this information to live your daily life, but it does make your daily life more worth living.” It comes as well-told stories, he says, the kind of journalism that people want to reread.
If that's not enough to get you to read the whole piece, there's this: The story starts out with the way Brown found his lead for a story on infertility treatments.. It's not what you think. Or maybe it is.
I teach journalism and direct the journalism emphasis at Santa Clara University. As a freelance journalist, i have written for daily newspapers and their Sunday magazine sections as well as a variety of regional and national magazines. Among them: Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, salon.com, California Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, Utne Reader, Health Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Redbook, Bay Area Parent and Pacific News Service. This blog is for students -- and anyone else who wants to join the conversation about the future of journalism.