Monthly Archives: November 2014

5 lessons from the Best American Sports Writing Stories of 2014

I said it last year, and I’ll say it again:

One of my favorite fall traditions is opening the annual anthology of the Best American Sports Writing series.

In this space alone, I have spoken of its influence on my career, interviewed a writer whose work has been featured in the anthology, and thanked one columnist whose entry more than a decade ago touched my heart.

Now, the fall has arrived once again, and so has this year’s collection.

And, much as it did last year and every year, the 2014 edition of the Best American Sports Writing anthology provides both inspiration and valuable journalistic lessons.

Here are five such lessons from five stories that made this year’s cut: (more…)

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Putin, Times Square, & rollercoasters

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Putin’s friend profits in purge of schoolbooks (11/1/14, New York Times): The day after this article was published, it ranked among the most viewed stories on

And it should have. This is the type of hard-hitting, well-researched journalism that is claimed by so many to be missing.

New York Times writers Jo Becker and Steven Lee Myers present a sobering situation taking place in Russia: the country’s Ministry of Education and Science has cut more than half of the 14 million books allowed to be used in school, with one lone exception: a publishing house, Enlightenment, whose newly appointed chairman once worked very closely with President Vladimir Putin.

The whole article is fascinating, but the most powerful paragraph comes early on:

“The country is now run by a few families, or clans, close to Putin,” said one publisher, who like many others spoke only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “They used to focus on the very biggest businesses: oil, gas, big infrastructure projects, the banks. But now that they have eaten all the food in that cupboard, they are eating the mice, and the mice’s food, going after smaller and smaller markets.”



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