Welcome back for another installment of Ask TON. Here’s this month’s question: “I’d like to make better use of university public information officers to find ideas for features and front-of-book stories for magazines. What is the […]
“When I’m reporting, everyone I meet seems to basically look ‘regular’ to me. It doesn’t seem worth saying that this scientist wears glasses or has smoothly brushed hair or a large nose. I know I’m supposed to look for physical things that seem to mean something … What am I doing wrong?”
“To get myself out of a bind without having to tell my editor I was so far behind, I hired another writer who I trusted to help me with my reporting and drafting. It all worked out … but I felt kind of gross. Was it unethical for me to hire a subcontractor?”
You’re assigned to cover new developments in a complicated field. You know you have to include summaries of some results, and enough background to give readers a good overview. How can you bring some deliciously compelling narrative to a summary-type story?
You’re finally ready to sit down and write your feature. How do you organize your interview notes and research? Seasoned writers and editors share tips on how to break down your ideas and combine them into a great story—either by outlining, chunking them out, or just letting it happen.
Some scientists and other interviewees may not want to talk about controversial subjects; they may be wary of the media; or they’re just difficult to approach. This can be difficult if your source is a key character in a feature story. What can you do to break the ice?
I’ve been a journalist for nearly a decade, but recently went freelance. The first two stories I’ve had accepted went through several rounds of editing over the course of several days. While I benefited from this process and my stories came out stronger because of it, I’m worried. Is this process normal?