Narrative journalism and the reporters who write it
Author Archives: matttullis
Matt Tullis is the author of Running With Ghosts: A Memoir of Surviving Childhood Cancer. He is the director of Digital Journalism at Fairfield University, and is the host and producer of Gangrey: The Podcast.
Kelley Benham French of the Tampa Bay Times wrote the three-part series “Never let go.” The story focuses on the birth of Juniper French, the daughter of Kelley and husband Tom French (as in Pulitzer Prize-winning Tom French). Juniper was born at 23 weeks, six days and weighed just one pound, four ounces at birth.
While written in the first-person, this story is not your typical piece of memoir. Benham reported the hell out of this story, starting with more than 7,000 pages of medical records and continuing on with extensive interviews with ever doctor, nurse and social worker involved in her daughter’s life.
Episode 3 features Pamela Colloff of Texas Monthly. Late last year, her two-part series, “The Innocent Man” was published. The story focuses on Michael Morton, who in 1987, was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. In the podcast, Colloff talks about how she found out about the story, how she reported it and what it was like to shine light on a case like this.
Colloff has written a lot of stories for Texas Monthly since joining the podcast. Most recently, and movingly, though, was a piece titled “The Reckoning,” which was about one of the victims of what is regarded as the first mass school shooting in the country’s history.
In June 2012, D Magazine published Michael Mooney’s“The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever.” The story is about a recreational bowler named Bill Fong, who on one night two years earlier, made an improbable run at perfection. The story has been included on just about every list of the best nonfiction of 2012 and ultimately was selected for Best American Sports Writing.
In this podcast, we talk with Mooney about how he found the story, what the reporting process was like and how he decided to structure it.
Since joining the podcast, Mooney has written dozens of amazing stories, including an up-close look at Glenn Beck. He just published the piece “Weekend at Johnny’s,” which had him traveling across America and visiting all of the bars that Johnny Manziel has partied in.