WEEK 2: The room where it happens | WEEK 3: Pictures are worth 1,000 words, but they need your help | WEEK 4: What is truth?
Story ideas come to us in a thousand different ways.
"A friend of a friend told me about this guy..."
Or, "I once heard about this woman..."
These simple phrases uttered by friends, acquaintances, total strangers over whom you're eavesdropping in a restaurant have the potential to launch us into investigation mode.
But what happens when the story is right in front of our very eyes? What happens when the story springs from a photo?
For this week's #QUReads, I offer you a piece straight out of Kevin Van Valkenburg's syllabus. (NOTE: Next week, we will dig more into "investigation mode" and the curiosity you must have to get into it.)
Van Valkenburg's ESPN the Magazine colleague Kate Fagan wrote this piece called "Split Image" about a young athlete at Penn named Madison Holleran. Fagan met the athlete through Holleran's own Instagram account.
The story began with a photo, yet Fagan "had to work backward to unravel the mysteries. The magic...is that we don’t reach a definitive conclusion, but that doesn’t mean the (story doesn't) ask powerful questions about death, about humanity, about what we choose to believe and remember," Van Valkenburg wrote.
What do you think? Read the story here.
STILL LOOKING FOR MORE?: Remember the photo of the man falling to his death from the Twin Towers immediately after the September 11 attack? That photo inspired Tom Jurod to write "Falling Man," which was published in Esquire in September 2003.
What is #QUreads? Each Monday, I will tweet a link to a blog post that will include a selected reading and an explanation of why you should read and study it. You can find it using the hashtag any time. My prediction is that, if you read and study these stories, you will be a better writer by the end of the summer. Granted, if you practice in a journal, read consistently, take note of style and think about what might the writer's decision-making process be, you will improve greatly. I'm just here to help the process along for you.
Feel free to use the Comments section here or on Twitter to discuss the articles and writing techniques, to ask questions, or offer links to other great stories.
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Media, Fandom, and Soccer's Biggest Stage is available online from Palgrave Macmillan. (Hardback available in September 2021.)
Molly Yanity, Ph.D.