Long Form Narratives

Yes, most of our writing should be concise and direct. One of our jobs is to inform and to do so in a timely manner. But there are still times when only more depth will do, more reporting is called for, and a real story (with setting, characters, conflict and resolution) needs to be shared.

Here are some samples of longer narratives for inspiration.

Someone on the JEA listserv gathered a list of non-fiction books perfect for lit circles or simply individual study. You may want to add your own favorites to this list from 2017.

A classic narrative from Eric Adler of the Kansas City Star allows us to meet an unusual young woman fighting against the odds. Sarah’s Hope was published in four parts, with the final part appearing a year after the first three.

The story of the making of a high school musical, from auditions to strike, earned then Baltimore Sun reporter Ken Fuson an ASNE Feature Writing award. You can follow the story in two parts, Chapters 1-2, and Chapters 3-6.

Plays and musicals seem almost irresistible for many professional reporters. Here is an excerpt from a longer book by Michael Sokolove, New York Times reporter, that appeared in 2013 and inspired the 2018 one-season series “Rise,” on NBC.

Some evidence that high school reporters can produce the same sort of “immersion” journalism we see above, here is a 2008 narrative about show week for a high school musical. It includes photos and sidebars, and is designed to be printed out on 11×17 paper in booklet form.