Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week 4 Top 4: Discovering Anew the World Beyond

This week’s Top Four Good Stories present fascinating reporting on issues we might not have thought about before, topics we might never have noticed unless a reporter brought them to us. They’re the kind of stories that take us outside of ourselves to new ways of seeing, of discovering the light on the trees beyond the leaves in front of us. Enjoy:

1. For focusing on the intersection of justice and mercy, disaster and beauty, i.e., a crucial dispatch from the ruins of Haiti, “Rescuing Art from the Rubble of the Quake,” New York Times, May 11.

2. For an engaging reminder of the thrill of discovery, and of bearing witness to a story: “Whale Song: elegy for a leviathan,” Christian Science Monitor, May 12.

3. For finding news in nature and reporting it for urban dwellers as compelling and relevant: “Take a walk with a warbler,” Providence Journal, May 13.

4. For “exploring the connection of people of faith to the natural elements” in an engaging multi-media special report: “Elements of Ritual and Renewal: Air, Earth, Fire, Water,” Medill News Service and Religions News Service, May 12.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Partnering with—and for—the Next Generation

I've just completed the first semester launch of a new internship program, the Gordon College News Service, a partnership with student reporters and local news outlets. It's been genuinely inspiring working with young reporters, watching them grow, seeing them discover what they're capable of, reading (and re-reading) their stories for verification, clarity and value. They are, to me, another sign that journalism—and our culture for that matter—is hardly dead. 

These four aspiring writers have chutzpah, vision, integrity. I'm not sure who gained more from the other these past three months as we worked together on stories—them or me.  And I'm all the more delighted that others felt the same—our media partners (The Salem News, The Boston Globe, etc.) have published their stories, and in so doing have validated their efforts as young professionals who are making important contributions to the community.

In fact, their work and voices are worth introducing to you, so meet Alysa Obert as she reflects on being a journalist, and Amanda C. Thompson as she ponders things we have lost. Both college juniors (our other two reporters are graduating on Saturday) care deeply about language and good stories. Kudos to the next generation!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Week 3: Elbow Grease Creates Top 4 Good Stories

There was plenty to chew on this week with good stories that dug deep. Thank you to the reporters whose sheer tenacity produced stories that literally helped shed new light on important topics. Given the amount of vivid and varied details in this week's top four stories, each must have taken tons of time to report, verify, and confirm to get them right so we could draw our own conclusions. That in itself is worth appreciating, and taking some time to to read each slowly:

1. For a fascinating look behind the scenes of prize winning (literally) investigative reporting, "Covering 'Tainted Justice' and Winning a Pulitzer," NPR—Fresh Air, May 3

2. For reporting a different voice in a red hot debate, "Residents defend Arizona after immigration law," the L.A. Times, May 5

3. For surprisingly charming and dogged reporting/writing of the story behind one of my favorite New York emblems, the blue coffee cup: "Leslie Buck, Designer of Iconic Coffee Cup, Dies at 87", New York Times,  April 29

4. For hard hitting research, perspective, and context on a growing—pun intended—concern: "Beating Obesity" The Atlantic, May 2010