If you’re a sucker for hearing how great journalists report and structure their work — and who isn’t? — this Q&A with New Yorker write-around specialist Patrick Radden Keefe makes for a perfect Monday read.
It’s always the same: It starts with a series of big beats. If it’s an article, it starts with eight beats on the back of an envelope, so I’ll know where the piece starts, I’ll know where I want the transition after the first section to be, and even if I’m feeling my way, I’ll know where the big moments are later on. The reason it’s useful to do the outline on the back of an envelope is that I naturally gravitate to complicated stories — and I like the complication — but I think you need to back away from that and be able to see the topography of the story.
“The wave of coronavirus cases that swept across the country late last year put even the most battle-hardened EMTs under unprecedented psychological strain.”