We were talking — I was, anyway — about how print isn’t dead yet, not always for the reasons you might think. Today the NYTimes posted yet another multimedia package, “Gun Country,” which I recommend you check out.
It’s deceptively simple. Seven linked stories on one theme, told through a photo montage and an edited audio interview. It’s only simple until you look at it, and realize how many more photos had to be taken to get the 50 or so used in each montage, how many interviews had to happen to get the perfect narrative, how much time the reporter and subjects had to spend together for trust to be established. Hell, how long did it take to get just the right seven people.
My favorite: “Father Language.” My least-favorite: All the rest. But this is a 360-degree view of gun country, and that brings me to my point. I said years ago that I hoped the first expeditions into video storytelling by newspaper journalists might remake the form, at least somewhat. That hasn’t happened; TV news is as stupid and shallow and showboat-y as it’s ever been. (And here in Detroit, the biggest showboat is none other than ex-newspaperman Charlie LeDuff.) But it’s interesting, isn’t it, how newspaper journalists can tell excellent stories with video, but what would you expect from your local TV crew, print-wise? Not bloody much, unless it’s a personal appeal to donate to the United Way, because the pretty-lady anchor is the honorary chair, or some such.
You know what’s hard? Audio editing. The few times I’ve tried it, it made me nuts, trying to cut an interview, interspersed with my own questions, background noise, what have you, into a coherent thread. I think it’s almost easier to do video — more places to cover your missteps. NPR, you guys get a deep bow. It’s tough.
That’s not to say all print people are pros above reproach, although I’d like to salute the New York Post, where even a case of raving mental illness isn’t enough to get you moved to a quiet spot on the editorial page:
The president of the United States, leader of the free world, standard-bearer for everything upright, good and wholesome about the nation he leads, lost his morality, his dignity and his mind, using the solemn occasion of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday to act like a hormone-ravaged frat boy on a road trip to a strip bar.
Yes, it’s the selfie story that would not die, although the photo is the least of it for Andrea Peyser:
In front of 91 world leaders, the mourning nation of South Africa and Obama’s clearly furious wife, Michelle, the president flirted, giggled, whispered like a recalcitrant child and made a damn fool of himself at first sight of Denmark’s voluptuously curvy and married prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Not to be outdone by the president’s bad behavior, the Danish hellcat hiked up her skirt to expose long Scandinavian legs covered by nothing more substantial than sheer black stockings.
Danish hellcat! That’s the spirit.
Finally, a little Detroit real estate porn for you Californians, New Yorkers and Chicagoans. I’ve been to this house, both before and after its restoration, and folks, it’s a jaw-dropper — a Tudor that curves in a gentle arc. It’s spectacular, and at only three-quarters of a mil, probably less than a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
I’m limping into this weekend, but I must march out the other side, because it’s now or never for Christmas shopping. Hope yours is great.