Posts Tagged ‘Narrative’

Seth Mnookin Follows a Family Battling a Rare Genetic Disease  

Bertrand Might’s parents knew something was wrong soon after he was born in 2007. The baby was “jiggly” and nearly impossible to comfort; as he grew, his health deteriorated. For years, the Mights searched desperately for a diagnosis. In 2012, scientists at Duke University learned through a form of genetic analysis known as exome sequencing […]

Making the Most of Lab Visits

Any science story depends on getting the facts and figures right. But visiting scientists where they work allows you to move beyond the facts to glean insights into their personalities and passions. A lab visit can reward the enterprising reporter with behind-the-scenes details about how a discovery was made and what motivates the people doing […]

Naming the Dog: The Art of Narrative Structure

  A few years ago, I adopted a puppy. I’d picked the runt of the litter and in the weeks that I waited for him to wean, I made a list of a dozen or so potential names. In the end, I used none of them. I needed to spend time with the dog before […]

Weaving a seamless tale from threads of narrative and exposition

Many moons ago now, more than I care to remember, I had come from India to study for my master’s in computer science at the University of Delaware in Newark. All foreign teaching assistants, and I was one, had to undergo training on the intricacies of teaching American students. And as part of that training […]

Ask TON: Taking notes discreetly

Welcome back for another installment of Ask TON. (Click here to see previous installments.) Today’s question: When you are reporting for a narrative story, interviewing sources — say a researcher or a family — how do you take notes or record what’s going on without being obtrusive?

Jon Mooallem uncovers a wild plan to bring hippopotamus ranching to America

Jon Mooallem is fascinated by the relationships between humans and other animals, a topic he explores in his 2013 book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America. Mooallem is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, and a frequent contributor to other magazines […]

How to ace a 300-word story: An interview with Roy Peter Clark

It happens again and again: The assignment calls for 300 words. I write the perfect story — in 800 words. Then I’m fighting to cut the damned thing down to size. My search for a better way led me to writing coach and Poynter Institute scholar Roy Peter Clark’s newest book, How to Write Short: […]

Video: David Quammen interview

On Tuesday, we posted an edited transcript of an interview that TON contributor and editorial board member David Dobbs conducted with author David Quammen. This conversation took place before a live audience at a TON event at the National Association of Science Writers meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina last October. Below is a video of the conversation […]

Cynthia Graber profiles a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein

While Cynthia Graber isn’t new to reporting on regenerative medicine, her interview with Tufts University biologist Michael Levin led to some unexpected stories. In research that recalls the toils of Dr. Frankenstein, Levin uses electricity to initiate regeneration of body parts in living organisms. In light of recent advances in DNA research, the field of […]

Brian Vastag profiles a dinosaur tracker

When Washington Post science writer Brian Vastag found Ray Stanford, an amateur dinosaur footprint tracker in the D.C. suburbs who had found an unusual baby dinosaur footprint, he thought he had stumbled upon a “nice little day story.” Soon, though, he realized that Stanford’s newest find was only the most recent chapter in a far […]

Like being there: How science writers use sensory detail

“­At this time of year, with new growth laying a haze of green over the wet fields, the farm country around this small town smells faintly but distinctly of manure. It’s a rich, warm aroma, appropriate to the place that bills itself on road signs as “Canada’s foremost cattle county.” But follow the dip in […]

Jennifer Kahn asks: Can a child psychopath be saved?

Of all mental disorders, none elicits more revulsion or less sympathy than psychopathy, a disorder characterized by extreme impulsivity, narcissism, callousness and lack of empathy. Psychopathy is widely considered incurable, but some researchers have theorized that it might be possible to treat “fledgling psychopaths” if they can be identified early enough. When journalist Jennifer Kahn […]

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