Tag Archives: writing

Crumbs of The Internet No. 5: Pussy Riot, Demon Possession and Storytelling

'Pussy Riot Putin' photo (c) 2012, AK Rockefeller - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

As I wrote this post, I’m sitting in a crowded Starbucks shop. I’ve been spending a lot of time in coffee shops this week, mostly trying to work through writing.

I would interview sources and ask very dumb questions. I collected too much information. And now, as I work on getting the rough draft of this story into something I would be okay showing another human being, I find myself working against writers block.

I attribute all of this to this one article by Poynter: What you can learn about video storytelling from the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial [Video]. Al Tomkins goes shot by shot through Budwiser’s commercial, “Puppy Love,” and shows why it’s a good story. Although he talks towards people telling stories through video, us scribblers can learn a thing or two.

You’d think crafting a story with all of the elements described in the video would be simple, but no. Gotta work with the material that’s given you, and it’s hard to compete with puppies and horses.

Another piece of “inspiration” I found was this video of Malcolm Gladwell in which he describes the strategies underdogs can use to succeed. And that’s why I’m pulling longer hours in coffee shops these last few days.

It’s purely coincidental that I read two stories about demon possession this week. The first one comes from Esquire Magazine where it profiles an exorcist in the Catholic Church.  On its own, the story is mildly interesting, but don’t you ever wonder why demon possession is never documented? Most of those accounts boil down to hearsay.

But the story in the Indianapolis  Star titled “The exorcisms of Latoya Ammons has some weight to it: it cites medical documents, third party witnesses. After reading, it’s hard to form an opinion about it afterwards. The comments at the end of this GetReligion blog post helped.

Let’s end this post with a true longform piece by Buzzfeed about the band Pussy Riot. The piece doesn’t just explain the origins of the “band” and why it’s music is almost nonexistant. It continues deeper to explore the connection of the Orthodox Church and government in Russia, and to explain the culture of Russia.

Now, if I can only write a longform piece like that…

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Crumbs of the Internet is a weekly post where I link to some of the interesting stories I read online over the last week. 

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Crumbs of the Internet no. 3: toast, photos and a Sundance film

When toast is more than a piece of bread (Longform) — I like this food story. It goes deeper than a fun story on high-end toast (How fluffy! How silly!) and digs into the heart and raw past of the trend starting on the West Coast. (h/t Buzzfeed) 

The sentence that created the national security policy we have today (Longform)  — This is the PSA article for the week. This story by Buzzfeed helped me understand the start of it all: NSA spying, Edward Snowden, Guantanamo Bay, drones.

How the Internet changed writing — Let’s get past the obvious: the Internet has made it easier to get something — anything — onto a page. This Q&A with the founder of The Awl shows the more things progress, the more they stay the same. Work hard, my friend!

Photographed breaking news? That picture may be worth more than you think — I wish I knew about this back at the beginning of 2012 when I photographed the National Park Service evicting Occupy protesters from McPherson Square. Time to start reading up on copyright law. 

Notes on Blindness,’ a selection from the Sundance Film Festival (Video) — This New York Times film explores the meditations of John Hull, who lost his sight in 1983. Like a good film, it has many layers. Instead of spoiling any part of it for you, I’ll let you watch it.

Crumbs of the Internet is a weekly post where I link to the notable stories that I read the week before. Its a mix of longform pieces, journalism advice and other things I found on the Internet which I found helpful. 

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