5 lessons on the craft of journalism from Longform podcast

5 lessons on the craft of journalism from Longform podcast by Joe Freeman.

From the post:

AT FIRST I WAS RELUCTANT to dive into the Longform podcast, a series of interviews with nonfiction writers and journalists that recently produced its 200th episode. The reasons for my wariness were petty. What sane freelancer wants to listen to highly successful writers and editors droning on about their awards and awesome careers? Not this guy! But about a year ago, I succumbed, and quickly became a thankful convert. The more I listened, the more I realized that the show, started in 2012 on the website Longform.org and produced in collaboration with The Atavist, was a veritable goldmine of information. It’s almost as if the top baseball players in the country sat down every week and casually explained how to hit home runs.

Whether they meant to or not, the podcast’s creators and interviewers—Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff—have produced a free master class on narrative reporting, with practitioners sharing tips and advice about the craft and, crucially, the business. As a journalist, I’ve learned a lot listening to the podcast, but a few consistent themes emerge that I have distilled into five takeaways from specific interviews.

(emphasis in original)

I’m impressed with Joe’s five takeaways but as I sit here repackaging leaked data, there is one common characteristic I would emphasize:

They all involve writing!

That is the actual production of content.

Not plans for content.

Not models for content.

Not abstractions for content.


Not to worry, I intend to keep my tools/theory edge but in addition to adding Longform podcast to my listening list, I’m going to try to produce more data content as well.

I started off with that intention using XQuery at the start of this year, a theme that is likely to re-appear in the near future.


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