Blog

Read of the Week: “Comic Book Hero”

Browsing the cover story archives of the Washington Post Magazine, I came across this gem of a story, “Comic Book Hero.” by David Rowell. The story profiles Andre Campbell, a 44-year-old legally blind would-be comic book artist. It’s not the story of how he succeeded in overcoming the odds and cracking into comic book publishing along side D.C. Comics and Marvel — he doesn’t. Instead, it looks at how one man’s dream, no matter how Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Nieman Conference: Wrap Up

I’m back from Boston now, after my second Nieman Conference. Overall, another really impressive, well-run event. Kudos to everyone at the Nieman Foundation for putting on a fine conference. A few quick closing thoughts: Books I want to buy now, based on what I saw in Boston: D.C. Comics Guide to Writing Comics. Tom French swears its the best book on narrative structure he’s read. Plus it’s got Batman in it. Sold. One Person/Multiple Careers Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Nieman Conference: Thoughts on Day Three

I kicked off day three in the session on “Animating History,” featuring a panel including Adam Hochschild, Jane Kamensky, Isabel Wilkerson, and Scott Martelle. I loved the idea from Isabella Wilkerson that an important part about figuring out who to focus on for a book (or story) is the process of “auditioning” subjects through interviews, trying to find the right characters that will help carry a strong story. The interviews with the people you wind Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Nieman Conference: Thoughts on Day Two, P.M.

Over lunch, a bunch of strangers and I tried to figure out how to save the newspaper business. We didn’t succeed in finding a solution, but the brownies were quite tasty. For the first afternoon session, went to “Conversation on Craft” on Magazines. The conversation focused on this powerful feature story from the New Yorker: The Last Tour by William Finnegan. Interesting session, from which my biggest take away is that William Finnegan is a Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Nieman Conference: A Public Service Announcement

After two days, it seems clear some attendees are a little hazy about questions. A question, as I understand it, is supposed to be a brief query directed at a speaker or a panel. They aren’t: Long, rambling speeches with no clear purpose “Observations”… followed with a faux question like “what do you think about what I just said?” Three or four questions that take two minutes to unravel Seriously, people… (You know who you Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Nieman Conference: Thoughts on Day Two, A.M.

The Keynote session to kick off Day Two was a discussion with author and writer for the New Yorker, Jon Lee Anderson.  To me, it seemed like a little too much fawning over Anderson.  Felt like I was watching “Inside the Actor’s Studio”…  Despite that, I did take away a few morsels of value from Anderson’s talk.   First was the idea that he often learned a lot about the meaning of his own life’s experiences Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

What it’s all about

During Tom French’s session yesterday, he mentioned a Washington Post story by Anne Hull as an example of fine narrative journalism. It was about about a woman and her grandson walking down a road in the days after Katrina. I read it this morning and couldn’t agree more.  I doubt that many of the countless stories written about Katrina did a better job than this short two-page feature at showing the impact of the storm on the people Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Nieman Conference: Thoughts on Day One

At the Nieman Conference, everyone talks about “storytelling.” It’s what most writers here aspire to, rather than everyday news journalism. So when I walked into the main hall for the Connie Schultz keynote address, the story of the state of the journalism industry was told in the size of the room itself. The welcome and keynote was in the same hall as last year, but a room divider had been added. There were still hundreds Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago
Blog

Heading to Boston

Tomorrow morning I’ll head up to Boston to attend the Nieman Conference on Narrative. I attended last year and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the panels and speakers. Roy Peter Clark, Adam Hochschild, Tom French, Lane DeGregory, and Jacqui Banaszynski were all amazing. Most of the attendees at the conference are working journalists. A few, like me, are students or freelancers. It was both inspiring and humbling to attend. This year, the climate Read more…

By Matt Pusateri, ago