Feature writing at its best

I entered journalism with a naive Crusader Rabbit-esque ambition to change the world. I’d like to think there were times when I was able to generate significant support for people and causes … but journalism can be a very negative profession. More often than not you’re simply reporting bad news. That’s why chances to make the world a better place are golden and deserve your absolute best work.

Here’s an example of a bad news story with a (sort of) happy ending. It’s a Pullitzer prize-award winning piece of reportage and I doff my cap to the journo for being able to tell such a gut-wrenching story with such a clear head. Check it out here but be warned, some of the subject matter – about child abuse and neglect – is very upsetting.

The next piece is, quite simply, one of the most remarkable pieces of colour writing I have seen. It engages all of your senses and gives you goosebumps as it tells a story of narrow escape from the February 7 bushfires. How many of us could have written this so succinctly and powerfully, less than a day after losing a home, pet and personal possessions – and while still in shock?

I know people are saying the journalist, Gary Hughes, should win awards for this piece of writing. Having worked with Gary I suspect he would be acutely uncomfortable with that suggestion. My hope is that writing this horror story was cathartic for him and his family.

Incidentally, I probably won’t be posting for a few days as I’m on the road doing author talks in Warrnambool. Hope you all change the world for the better this week.

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