Learning to capture the details that matter can take years. Beginning writers rely on physical traits to explain subjects, or do a notebook dump of descriptions that tell the audience nothing much at all. Connor Radnovich’s profile of Mike White, a Gulf War veteran with ALS, demonstrates a studied use of detail. Radnovich tells us how tall White is when standing, “which he does only with help, and rarely.” He finds out how much White’s wheelchair costs. He notes that White’s shoes are “out-of-the-box clean.” He mixes observant reporting with a novelist’s turn of phrase to offer a memorable picture of White’s life. This story earned Radnovich, a recent graduate of Arizona State University, a second-place win in the personality/profile category of the 2013-2014 Hearst Journalism Awards.

Mike White’s War

Connor Radnovich | Phoenix New Times | March 25, 2014 | 19 minutes (4,723 words)