Writing a World: Baby Insane and the Buddha

Over recent decades, the story of gangs in American cities has become increasingly convoluted and disheartening. Yet, it is a story that must be told and in enlightening ways that capture and maintain the reader’s attention. Stories must offer new insights, perspectives and conclusions. They must bring situations and characters to life, transformed from statistics, analyses and crime reporting. Bob Sipchen’s book Baby Insane and the Buddha sets out to tell the story of San Diego’s inner-city gangs and the criminal justice system put in place to eradicate or at least control them…. Continue reading


The Future of Narrative Journalism in the Twitter Age

The Digital Revolution. The Information Era. The Computer Age. These are just some of the names used to describe the explosion of the World Wide Web over the past two decades and its opportunities for quick communication and rapid discovery. Now a new moniker has emerged: The Attention Age. The Web’s ever-expanding pervasiveness and the surge of social networking opportunities have made information so abundant and accessible that attention itself is the new essential commodity…. Continue reading


Narrative in Newspapers

We all yearn to escape the everyday and mundane. What else explains the popularity of the fantastic? Disneyland. Star Wars. Harry Potter. Lady Gaga. But as the old adage goes, “truth is stranger than fiction.” Our fascination with real life events and experiences – human dramas, societal and cultural crises – can be just as mesmerizing. How else to explain the fascination with “Reality TV?”

Writing that combines journalistic attention to fact and detail with literary techniques can create pieces that read more like fiction than reporting…. Continue reading


Narrative Journalism in the Los Angeles Times

The “Number One” represents the essential, the singular and the sensational. It is the cream of the crop and the top of the list. “Column One” is the designation reserved by the Los Angeles Times for those exemplary, in-depth, narrative articles, so important as to earn a front page, “above the fold” position. Yet, these articles are not breaking news. Instead, they have been selected for superior writing, unexpected subject matter and original storytelling…. Continue reading