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.
Newly insured, many now face learning curve (8/2/14, New York Times): Cutting through the political muck can be difficult these days.
As a news consumer, one often needs to search through a variety of opinion pieces and commentaries, knee-jerk and otherwise, before hearing about the “reality on the ground”, so to speak.
Credit to writer Abby Goodnough for offering an example of journalism that informs.
While political foes continue to fight over the Affordable Care Act, newly insured Americans must ignore all that and learn the ins and outs of their new health care. Goodnough presents a thorough, well-researched story about the challenges faced by all involved. She peppers her story with powerful individual anecdotes like this:
Last week, Salwa Shabazz arrived at the office of a public health network here with a bag full of paperwork about her new health insurance — and an unhappy look on her face. She had chosen her plan by phone in March, speaking to a customer service representative at the federal insurance marketplace. Now she had problems and questions, so many questions.
“I’ve had one doctor appointment since I got this insurance, and I had to pay $60,” Ms. Shabazz told Daniel Flynn, a counselor with the health network, the Health Federation of Philadelphia. “I don’t have $60.”
They produced my favorite feature story of the week: a long-form piece on a group of 90-year-old women that challenge themselves by taking on new — and often adventurous — activities.
Erdahl and Herbst do a number of things well here, but I specifically want to credit them for their inclusiveness. They could have easily focused on one woman for the sake of simplicity, but — both through Erdahl’s writing and Herbst’s photography — introduce us to numerous members of this thrill-seeking team. They wind up settling on a woman who is losing her vision due to macular degeneration, but they never forget that this story is about, not individuals, but the group.
Where ideas live (8/3/14, Medium): Finally, from the world of think-pieces and alternative media comes a powerful rumination on the storage of ideas.
Writing for the web site Medium, John-Michael Oswalt discusses the ever-increasing avenues for documenting how we feel. “It started with a real journal,” he writes, and “then came Blogger and Live Journal … Soon after there were more than enough tools for writing and video (and podcasting).”
Oswalt does not necessarily conclude whether all of this is good or bad, but he raises some fascinating points and, in doing so, provides a glowing example of when all those idea-documenting methods produce a positive result.
Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.