the starters

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring some old favorites

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.

Having written this weekly column for eight months now, I can safely say I have developed a few favorites.

These are the web sites, podcasts, newspapers, TV stations, writers, broadcasters, reporters, and storytellers that I visit for great content — and usually provide it.

This week, all three of my “3 Great Stories” happen to be penned by repeat offenders.

Inside Israel’s quest for cyberwar supremacy (11/6/13, I have written about Worldcrunch before, and in this case, I found a fascinating article on the go-to web site for news translation and curation.

The piece comes from Le Nouvel Observateur, France’s most-read weekly magazine, and is translated from the original text of its writer, Hadrien Gosset-Bernheim. It gets behind the walls of the Israeli Defense Force’s cyber-espionage team … or, at least, it tries to.

Gosset-Bernheim does not receive a whole lot of specifics as to how the cyber-espionage team works, but he does shed light into its importance for the IDF. He provides a well-rounded look into a subject that might prove surprising and enlightening to American readers; that would seem to be Worldcrunch’s goal in translating such an article for an English-speaking audience.


The underdog beauty of The Basketball Jones, er, The Starters

Five springs ago, I stumbled on a pot of audio gold.

I was living in Buffalo, N.Y. and needed good listening material to accompany my 20-mile bike rides along the Niagara River (yes, you can absolutely ride a bike in Buffalo … during the spring and summer.) I started listening to podcasts and downloaded a handful for my rides; I loved the NBA (and still do), so I searched whatever podcasts I could find on the sport.

That is how I discovered The Basketball Jones.

Everything about it screamed “well-kept secret”. The hosts, J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas, followed a familiar path in terms of topics — recapping the previous day’s action and offering their respective takes — but they did it in such a unique way. They were conversational yet intelligent, relaxed yet witty; they were, to borrow an oft-used expression, the types of people with whom you would want to watch a game.

In short, they did what every professional studio show tried — and usually failed — to do.

On top of that, they both lived in Canada. This fact made them even more endearing to me, for two reasons. First, I had grown quite fond of the Canadian spirit after living in Buffalo, five minutes from the border.

The second reason? It made them seem like even more of a long shot to break their “well-kept secret” status.

Five years later, that status has been shattered.