America’s Best Newspaper Writing Top-10: Chapter 1

Deadline Reporting.

  1. Don’t be afraid to go wherever it takes to get the facts that will make your story the best it can be.
  2. Find people who are affected by the topic and tell their stories.
  3. Great stories can be written in any circumstance—especially on a deadline.
  4. Great journalists aren’t easily dissuaded.
  5. Characters instead of sources, scenes instead of summaries, dialogue instead of disembodied quotes.
  6. Prepare in advance.
  7. A skilled journalist can provide not only the news but the meaning behind it.
  8. Every good story has a climax.
  9. There’s no substitute for being on the scene.
  10. If you’re worried about taking things out, then take comfort in the fact that it’s just one of those things you have to learn over and over again.

Recommended Stories:

Right-to-Know Law Gives India’s Poor a Lever

This is one I had in my bookmarks to begin with. I think what I like about it so much is that it does exactly what was talked about in the ASNE text: it creates characters, not just sources.

In Ordinary Lives, U.S. Sees Work Of Russian Agents

This is another one that was hanging around my bookmarks folder already. Mostly because it was fantastic on-the-scene reporting. While CNN was busy talking about the Facebook profiles of the spies, this was going up here on The New York Times.

Fear Growing of Mugabe’s Iron Grip Over Zimbabwe

Perhaps I should diversify my selection from The New York Times a bit. But really, the international reporting is typically fantastic. These are all well-rounded stories with emotions, details and solid reporting.

Egypt Erupts in Jubilation as Mubarak Steps Down

Maybe the only reason I want to put this on here is because Kirkpatrick’s consistent coverage throughout the three weeks this was going on was the most reliable and well-reported of any news I was reading at the time.

‘We Will Never Forget Him’

This one reminds me a little bit of an Americanized version of the Israel-Pakistan story from the ASNE text. And it’s awesome, because it’s a college journalist.


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