by Project for Excellence in Journalism
"The best stories reach us on some elemental level. They talk about a mother's love for her children, a husband's pride in his country…There's something very important that's always going on in a very simple way in good stories." NBC correspondent John Larson
Look for the story of why things happen the way they do and then look for a way to tell that story. One way to do so is the way Robert Caro told the story of the re-making of New York City by Robert Moses, the most influential man in the nation's biggest city who never won an election.
Robert Caro's The Powerbroker isn't just a biography of Robert Moses. It's about how power works, how the most influential man in the country's biggest city never won election, about urban planning, the unseen forces of power.
The deeper theme here is that someone behind the scenes is often more important than the public official.
What is the fight really about? Why is Tom Delay suddenly allied with a liberal on this? Or why has this tiny difference over policy threatening to scuttle a bill that was all but finished. Why is it John McCain and Pat Robertson hate each other so much even though both are quite conservative?
Or consider these two consructions: Tim McVeigh may be the most important influence in public architecture today.
Osama Bin Laden is the primary architect of American foreign and domestic policy today.