seinfeld

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring LeBron, Seinfeld, & a special friendship

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.

LeBron: I’m coming back to Cleveland (7/11/14, Sports Illustrated): Sometimes telling a great story is simply about having the thing that everyone wants.

For two weeks, LeBron James had it.

Every sports fan — and plenty of non-sports fans, too — wanted to learn where the NBA’s greatest player would spend the rest of his career. Would he stay with the Miami Heat, the team with which he won two championships over the last four years? Or would he take his talents elsewhere?

James decided to go to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, and he announced his decision with a poignant, well-thought article on SI.com. He gave the scoop to Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins, who transcribed James’ comments and turned them into a cogent work of writing.

The web site will likely draw record traffic this weekend, and it should. LeBron James gave everyone a reason to click. (more…)

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Atlanta, U.S. cities, & uniforms

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.

I have always found American cities majestic.

Recently, I have often wondered how they got here.

For example, could we today build another New York City, specifically, the spectacle of bunched skyscrapers known as Manhattan? Probably not, right? Modern cities — meaning those growing in the age of the automobile — spread outward, not upward.

I am fascinated by this stuff. I am reading a great book right now called Regime Politics, by Clarence N. Stone. It discusses how Atlanta’s city government and business elite worked together to transform the city during the latter half of the 20th century. Since I live in Atlanta and, as a journalist, often examine its strengths and weaknesses, I have found myself fully engaged by this book.

Here are three great stories from last week in journalism, all of which — at least partially — answer the question: How do cities work?

How to fall in love with your city (4/22/14, Bitter Southerner): I’ll admit it: This story warmed my Atlanta heart.

A friend recently turned me on to the Bitter Southerner, a new web site that publishes one article a week about Southern culture. The articles share two traits:

1) They focus on a positive, uplifting part of the South, a region that often gets negatively stereotyped.

2) They look gorgeous.

I enjoyed the site’s story two weeks ago about Atlanta Braves great Hank Aaron, and I found myself captivated again this week. Writer Chuck Reece examines the #weloveatl Instagram movement, which has encouraged numerous Atlantans to submit more than 50,000 photographs that showcase what makes the city great.

The movement is powerful; so is Reece’s well-written and well-presented story. (more…)

3 GREAT STORIES: The printed, foreign affairs 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.

After submitting three local TV news features for your approval last week, I wondered, “What would be the complete opposite of such stories in the media realm?”

My decision: print stories about international affairs.

(Granted, I did not spend too much time on this question. And that means one of you readers may correct me on whether these are indeed the “complete opposite”, a la George’s salmon-tuna situation on Seinfeld.)

As George would say, “Good for the tuna.”

In the meantime, check out the masterful storytelling — and, in one case, story-obtaining — in these three pieces from last week.

Bin Laden raid reveals ‘state failure’ (7/9/13, Al-Jazeera.com): Here is that example of story-obtaining, and it is a biggie.

The investigative unit at Al-Jazeera received a copy of a report, commissioned by the Pakistani government, to determine how Osama bin Laden could live in Pakistan for nearly nine years undetected.

Like any modern-day journalistic outfit, they take the correct first step and make the entire report available for viewing online. But beyond that, this piece by writer Asad Hashim — one of nearly a dozen that accompanied the release of the report — details the report’s blunt words about the government’s incompetence throughout bin Laden’s time in the country. The commission even coined a phrase for it: “Governance Implosion Syndrome.”

The commission’s report is scathing; give credit to Hashim and the Al-Jazeera crew for distilling it into manageable, yet quite shocking, terms.

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3 GREAT STORIES OF THE WEEK: Starring memorials, the NCAA, & Marv Albert

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.

This was a tough week to choose three great stories.

I read, watched, and listened to a lot of wonderful pieces this week. Perhaps I now spend more time seeking out terrific work because I write this entry every week, but more and more I find myself impressed and encouraged by the journalism — and simple storytelling — I see on a regular basis.

Here are this week’s 3 Great Stories, but I may soon need to increase the number:

Former sailor writes out Afghan casualties’ names from memory (3/27/13, Military Times): Everything about this story is beautiful: the camerawork, the audio, the opening music, the subject matter, and the person being profiled. The thing I like most? Photojournalist Colin Kelly lets this story breathe; he lets you soak in every minute of his subject’s quest. I don’t want to reveal too much about this story … just that if you watch it, you will be touched.

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