What gets published is rarely what got pitched. Sources bail, circumstances shift, conflicts fizzle. Reporting out stories that go nowhere is a frustrating, tedious business – unless, of course, they turn into something good. Such was Wyatt Stayner’s experience in putting together a story called “Getting Out of Poverty in Oregon,” this week’s College Longreads selection. Stayner’s story, about a family’s last night in a homeless shelter, began as a piece about child poverty back in January. He shifted to families, but the subjects he found backed out after their first interview. A full two months after his initial pitch, Stayner, a student at the University of Oregon, found his story.

Getting Out of Poverty in Oregon

Wyatt Stayner, Flux Magazine, June 4, 2014, 8 minutes (1,950 words)