3 GREAT STORIES: Best of 2013 (so far), written edition

Every week, I will 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.

I am on vacation — and out of commission — for the next two weeks, so I figured I would use those weeks to post “Best Of” editions of my 3 Great Stories segment.

I will post my three favorite audio/video stories of the year so far next week. This week, without further ado, my three favorite written pieces from January through June (although, it seems, they were all written in April), along with what I wrote about them back then, with minor edits for clarity:

Yearning for the Golden Age in Crisis Coverage … That Never Existed (4/25/13, Sabato’s Crystal Ball): Larry Sabato is the director for the center of politics at the University of Virginia.

The man can also craft a good Tweet.

He got my attention in April when he Tweeted this one-liner: “Think coverage of Boston bombing was bad? JFK assassination coverage was worse.”

That line provides the premise, and Sabato’s article delivers.

The doctor, most known for predicting election results, goes into detail about the CBS broadcast after President Kennedy’s assassination; he documents the misinformation CBS and Walter Cronkite reported as well as the general behind-the-scenes madness. It’s an educational read for those who long for the good ol’ days of news coverage.

The Saudi marathon man (4/17/13, The New Yorker): Amy Davidson chronicles the story of a Saudi Arabian who was incorrectly targeted as a person of interest in the bombing of the Boston Marathon. In doing so, she offers a poignant look at how one life was affected by the targeting of police and the massive coverage of media. Davidson leaves us with more questions than answers, such as this one at the article’s end:

And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help. We get so close to all that Obama described. What’s missing? Is it humility?

A Leave of Presence (4/2/13, Chicago Sun-Times): What an eerie swan song. And yet, what a fitting swan song.

This is Roger Ebert’s final column, and he did not intend it to be, even though it is essentially a farewell piece. Ebert details his plans to leave the Sun-Times, move to his own blog, write less about movies but more about the movies he wants to review, and speak about the many health problems affecting him in his later years.

As usual, he writes with grace and poise. And if you want to see the impact Ebert had, check out the hundreds of comments below the article. So many of them came before Ebert passed away, when the commenters thought they were only saying good-bye to him in one sense.

One can only hope Ebert knew how much he was appreciated.



Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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