Reading Material for Editors and Writers Going to AAN West

To whet their appetites for what they’ll learn at AAN West, editorial delegates can do some background reading. The speakers provided the following texts.

For most talks, additional handouts and tip sheets will be available at the conference.

“Protecting the Innocent” by A.C. Thompson, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Susan Rutberg, Innocence Project, Golden Gate University School of Law

Thompson and Rutberg will discuss what kind of reporting and investigation goes into proving the innocence of someone falsely accused or convicted of a crime. Before attending their talk, it would be helpful to read Thompson’s story that led to the exoneration of John J. Tennison and Antoine Goff, who had been wrongly convicted of murder.

The Hardest Time (download file)

“Following the Money to a Good Political Story” by Jake Bernstein, The Texas Observer

A Texas Observer series by Jake Bernstein and Dave Mann describes the Republicans’ corporate money scheme for Texas’ 2002 campaign. The series demonstrates the kinds of stories investigations of campaign financing can lead to.

The Rise of the Machine

Scandal in the Speaker’s Office

Rate of Exchange

Bankrolling Beltway Badges

“Weaving the Backstory Into Arts Reviews” by Ella Taylor, film critic, L.A. Weekly

While Internet sources have made research much easier for arts journalists, they also tend to make research more superficial and homogeneous, and less original, Taylor says. We read books for background much less, and spend less time thinking more generally about the world and the place of the arts in it. At her talk, Taylor will provide a handout of valuable background sources for film reviewers. She’ll also discuss her philosophy of how good arts writing is put together, making the lesson more concrete by revealing how she researched some of the articles and reviews listed below.

Air Sickness: Fear, loathing and Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love

Saint Vera: Mike Leigh’s cardboard working-class hero

American Bigmouth: Why Michael Moore won’t shut up

Night Cruise: Michael Mann’s nerve-rattling Collateral

The Last Intellectual: Clive James, Renaissance man

Decapitating the Friedmans: Andrew Jarecki chronicles the destruction of an American family

“Examining Health Care” by Gail Johnson, associate editor, The Georgia Straight

Gail Johnson, who writes a weekly health column, will discuss many ways of approaching stories on medical issues. Below is a selection of her articles on a range of health subjects, some newsy and some offbeat.

Extreme Makeovers Make Protesters’ Skin Crawl

Stress Stalks Offices, But Wellness Is Workable

Those Periods of Misery Might Be Endometriosis

A Hole in the Head Is One Man’s Key to Happiness (download file)

Some Say a Sip of Urine a Day Keeps the Doctor Away (download file)

Archive of Gail Johnson’s health columns

“Covering the War From Home” by Dan Baum, and “Writing a Compelling Narrative” by Dan Baum and Margaret Knox, writing team for The New Yorker

Learn more about how Knox and Baum work together as a writing team on their personal Web site. Some of their narrative stories can be downloaded below. To prepare for Baum’s talk on covering the Iraq War from the United States, it’s most important to read “Two Soldiers.”

Fort Ord (download file)

God and Satan in Bentonville (download file)

Battle Lessons (download file)

Price of Valor (download file)

Two Soldiers (download file)