To do great writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
Eat My Shorts – This week the tagline I use for this standing Friday feature – to do great writing read great writing – is slightly misleading because some of the great writing I came across I didn’t read, I listened to. I’m referring to a segment on last week’s edition of PRI’s This American Life radio program. “Eat My Shorts,” co-produced with ProPublica calls into question the excuse heard a lot on Wall Street and in government hearings that nobody saw the financial meltdown coming. The piece does so by examining the actions of a hedge fund named Magnetar that figured out how to game the system – and made a mint doing it.
TAL fans will recall that Alex Blumberg, one of the investigative reporters on the project, also worked on the show’s now famous May 2008 segment, The Giant Pool of Money, which NYU recently called one of the top 10 journalism projects of the past decade. This 40-minute program is riveting, as fine a piece of explanatory journalism as you’ll get. It’s also a great example of how dramatic, influential, and dare I say even sexy, good business journalism can be.
ProPublica and the 2010 Pulitzer Prizes – Speaking of ProPublica, the five-year-old nonprofit investigative news agency walked away with the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. ProPublica reporter Sheri Fink took the award for her story Deadly Choices at Memorial, on life-and-death decisions made by doctors at one hospital during Hurrican Katrina. Fink won the honor in conjunction with the New York Times Magazine, which ran her piece.
ProPublica’s win marks the first time a nonprofit news organization has won a Pulitzer, recognized as the highest honor in U.S. journalism. It’s a big step for the New York-based outfit, and for the dozens of other nonprofit news organizations like it that are forming all over the country. Look for those organizations to use this a rallying cry for assistance, both from experienced journalists they hope will come to work for them as well as donations they hope to attract.
Read the entire list of 2010 Pulitzer Prize winners here.