Thursday, December 01, 2011

Narrative Non-fiction

I just re-read a speech on the long-form narrative that I find fascinating, because every time I read it I glean something new from it. Good stuff from the editor of the New York Times Magazine.

For example, having recently acquired a Kindle and an iPad, I read his observations about reading substantive things on electronic devices with renewed appreciation.

Incidentally, it is the New Yorker which excels (or maybe excelled) in this kind of journalism: in-depth and broad coverage of a particular issue by a journalist who spent several months digging in and writing about it. In the 90s, some of their reports of events in Africa, Balkans and parts of Asia, as well as those on health/medicine, innovation and technology, etc were astonishing.

I am thinking, in particular, of the non-fiction of Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers), Richard Preston (The Hot Zone), Atul Gawande (from the frontlines of medicine and surgery) and others. Just amazing stuff.

Speaking of which, there is plenty of raw material right here in Bangladesh for this kind of in-depth reporting (and it does not all have to be negative - there are many positive stories, too...) And while the NY Times Magazine spends over $40,000 for one of these stories, ours can be done on a much smaller budget.

Would the reading public pay for anything like this? Or, perhaps more relevant, would the advertisers see value in it?

(Thanks to Mahmud Rahman for pointing me to this article.)


Mahmud said...

In our region, Caravan Magazine out of Delhi is doing some interesting long-form journalism. Check out their website.

ulysses said...

Thanks Mahmud Bhai - Looks good. The coverage of airlines is fascinating. So... I wonder if such an in-depth article on Biman might ever get written, for example?