Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writers & what they write - Gisondi, Hemphill, Montgomery and Michelson

There's been a few pieces lately that stood out to me either on or illustrative about the process of writing.

In terms of actually on writing was first a post from the website of Journalism professor Joe Gisondi. Titled "Are you really ready to be a journalist?" it gets into some specific things to think about for someone considering the field. The second piece of note on writing was by southern writer Paul Hemphill who passed away in 2009. Originally printed in Southern Voices Magazine, "Quitting the Paper" is a remarkable essay that's posted by Alex Belth to his website Alex Belth's Bronx Banter. Hemphill writes a well done tale of making a decision to leave his columnist job to write books and free-lance features... and then stepping forward with that choice.

The other two stories to mention here were excellent newspaper and magazine pieces respectively, but what struck me was what had to go into each piece as well as the background of one of the writers.

For the Tampa Bay Times, Ben Montgomery did "Recounting the deadly hazing that destroyed FAMU band's reputation" and it's compelling writing with an incredible amount of detail, and had a postscript that brought to mind Gisondi and his mention of open-record laws.. "This story was reported based on 2,300 pages of depositions, investigative reports, crime scene photographs and audio recordings made public by state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida."

Last piece to note was "Tunnel Vision" for Outside Magazine. Written by Megan Michelson, it's her first person account of an avalanche that claimed the lives of three expert skiers in February 2012. The writing is excellent, but it was both amazing for me to think of Michelson actually being in that group of skiers and interesting to read a bit of her career path. She's mentioned in Outside to be an ESPN editor living in Lake Tahoe (so obviously not in the corporate office) and her website also describes her as a freelance writer and links to past magazine stories done. Just interesting (and kind of inspirational) the careers some people carve out for themselves.