3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Nik Wallenda, Boston, & an execution

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.

The Wal-Mart of the high wire (10/2/15, BuzzFeed): I continue to be impressed by BuzzFeed’s legitimate credibility as a destination for longform journalism.

I have mentioned their work before, and this latest feature is a worthy addition to their canon.

Steve Kandell, BuzzFeed’s news features director, produces a profile of the high-flying wire-walker Nik Wallenda, whose notoriety has become a source of contention within both his industry and his family. Wallenda continues the tradition of performers who may not be the best at their jobs but are the best at self-promotion.

Kandell perfectly weaves these stories of conflict with under-the-tightrope visuals and descriptions. BuzzFeed’s web editors succeed here as well, filling the story with dazzling images and videos of Wallenda’s high-wire feats.

Call it another win for an unlikely web site.

Globe photos of the month, September 2015 (10/1/15, Big Picture): Whenever I have spotlighted the Big Picture photo editors — and I have done so often — I have praised their curation of other people’s photos. The Big Picture is a service of the Boston Globe, but it rarely shows the work of the Globe’s own photographers.

Not this time.

This gallery explicitly promotes the Globe’s photo staff, and each photo is a powerhouse. Check out John Tlumacki’s snapshot of a baseball splashing the dirt in front of home plate; scroll up for Dina Rudick’s view of the birds amidst the Boston fog.

But the coolest photo is right at the top: Tlumacki’s time lapse of the super moon, rising above a Plymouth church.

Inside an execution: Jeff Hullinger provides exclusive look (9/30/15, WXIA-TV): In two days, I will post the next episode of the Telling The Story podcast, where I talk for about 40 minutes with my co-worker, Jeff Hullinger.

The subject? Witnessing an execution.

Hullinger was one of five journalists named to witness the controversial death of Kelly Gissendaner, a Georgia woman who plotted her own husband’s murder. In the day that followed, Hullinger did the world a great service by describing — with tenderness and compassion, not morbidity and salaciousness — what he saw.

The above link shows several segments from WXIA-TV as well as Hullinger’s Twitter feed, where he first discussed the experience. Journalists often receive access unavailable to most; that was especially true here, and Hullinger did his duty by being a powerful steward of that access.

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

Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com. You can also follow Matt on Facebook and Twitter.

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