Telling True Stories: Part IX:



Jim Collins

Freelancing as a narrative writer hasn’t ever been an easy way to earn a living, and recent changes in the magazine industry have made it even tougher… Magazines that depend on subscriptions can no longer compete with those relying on advertising income… While getting started as a freelancer, you must spend as much time pitching stories (and accepting rejection) as you do writing them…


The idea of being a freelancer, seems to be an exciting idea for a journalist to write about what he wants, take the time he needs to report, and move between different new organizations and publications. I always think of a reporter who travels the world and write as much as he wants, whenever I think about a freelancer. I know this is not what happens in reality, but it sounds like a great life to me. However, I believe that for a great journalist to have such a life, they must work hard first, follow the rules and work for a known organization where he can build his career and name.


Telling True Stories III

Tomas Alex Tizon:

Is an American author and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He contributed to Newsweek and 60 Minutes. He was also the bureau chief of LA Times.
Writing a profile is documenting someone’s life. As unique as you believe your life is, others think the same way about their lives as well. I found his four points to consider interesting and gave me a new perspective and a new point of view when thinking about profiles.

  1. Your Subject is as COMPLICATED as You Are
  2. Your Subject Carries a BURDEN as Heavy as Yours
  3. Your Subject WANTS Something
  4. Your Subject is Living an EPIC STORY

Malcolm Gladwell:

“One reason I don’t write profiles of people is that I believe we are incapable of truly describing a person’s core… People are more complicated than our profiles of them reflect.” – The Limits of Profiles

“Though we are incapable of getting all of a person’s essence, I do believe we can get at pieces of someone’s personality. That’s enough!”

Melissa Fay Greene:

Has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Readers Digest, Life, MS, Newsweek, The Wilson Quarterly, Parade, Redbook, Parenting, HuffingtonPost, Salon, TheDailyBeast, and
She has five books:

“No one asked us to be keepers of the flame of history; we’ve taken it on ourselves. When we choose to write nonfiction, our first commitment is not to be readable or to educate or to curry favor with our readers. It is to be as accurate as possible.”

Telling True Stories Part 3:

There are various genres that journalists can follows to write their stories. It is important to follow the ethics and rules of journalism and to find your own style and your own voice.

Telling True Stories II

I am enjoying every page of this book. It is rich with its tips and advice, yet in a way that I did not find in other journalism books that I read during my study. With these brilliant and different writers, journalists and authors, I get a pleasant surprise of their ideas and writings in every article.



Jan Winburn

is a senior editor for enterprise at CNN digital. She is an award- winning writer who got:

  1. Pulitzer Prize for featuring writing.
  2. Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing
  3. ASNE Award for Non-Deadline Writing.

The editor’s questions that she emphasized in her article were useful and informative. However, two main questions drew my attention and interest, as I do not see them being used or implemented in many news organizations nowadays which make some stories half- told. Therefore, the truth is missing.

  • What truism is being presented in the news, and does heading in the opposite direction suggest a story?
  • Is there an untold background tale?

I remembered the conflict between the East and the West when I read these specific questions. I get the weirdest questions about how the Arabs thinks or feel about the West. Interestingly, all Western media promote certain stereotypes, which people never stop and think about. They just hear them, believe them and then act accordingly.
Following what I read in the articles, there were tips from different authors that reporters must go wherever the story takes them. This is how you know the truth and report it; by going to both sides and asking questions.
When you do not hear the other voice, you must know that this is not the truth and that you are missing something. Therefore, that is what I am aiming for, to go wherever the story takes me and fully report it. Not to allow biases, or to follow trends, gossips and stereotypes. That is what I owe to my profession, my readers and myself.




Ted Conover:

is an author and a journalist. “He writes about real people by living their own lives,” as he described himself on his blog.



Although it might seem extreme for some journalists, going as far as sending your self to prison might be required to get the truth. Not every reporter would need to do that, but depending on what you are covering, you should go wherever the action is. Get the story from its original sources no matter how long it takes you.