Posts Tagged ‘Mimi Johnson’
As I considered writing something about Mom or Mimi for Mother’s Day, I initially dismissed the idea as not right for my blog.
I generally blog about digital journalism and innovation in the media, and though I occasionally veer into personal topics, I usually try to relate them to journalism in some way. As I considered the moms in my life, I noticed quickly how much my career owes to both of them. So here are five reasons (I could have picked more, but five is a good number):
- Mom always had newspapers around the house and she always read them. She always talked about the news and often about the journalists reporting the news.
- Mom encouraged me to read and write and set me up with a great first teacher (Mrs. E.R. Shaw) when I was too ill to start school as a young boy when we lived in England. (more…)
Acknowledging my obvious bias and my financial stake in the success of her book, I want to share some writing lessons from her book experience:
Rewrite. I don’t know (and I’m sure she doesn’t know) how many times Mimi rewrote this book, but she rewrote multiple times: restructuring the whole thing, polishing chapters and individual sentences, updating, working out wrinkles in the plot. Rewriting is one of the most important and certainly the most neglected step in writing. As Forrester (Sean Connery character in the video clip below) says, you write the first draft with your heart and you rewrite with your head. Mimi did the heart part of this story years ago. But she had to finish the head part before it was ready for publication. Even if you’re blogging or tweeting, I recommend taking the time to rewrite. For a blog post or tweet, the rewrite might take minutes or seconds, rather than years. But rewriting is nearly always time well spent.
Posted in Maya's return from Haiti, Personal, tagged 2008 Iowa floods, 9/11, ABC News, adoption, Central Texas Orphan Mission Alliance, Chuck Hagel, Good Morning America, Haiti earthquake, Mandy Poulter, Matt Poulter, Maya Poulter, Mike Buttry, Mimi Johnson, Molly Rossiter, Nightline, Oklahoma City bombing, Robin Roberts, Tom Harkin, Venezuela mudslides, Washington Post on January 15, 2010 | 14 Comments »
Update: Maya Esther is in the United States. Read the update.
A journalist gets an unusual perspective on disaster stories.
Chances are you remember the Oklahoma City bombing from the horrific television images of the demolished building or the heart-rending photograph of a firefighter carrying a dead baby from the building. I remember the bombing from the grit in the air I could feel and taste covering the aftermath in downtown Oklahoma City.
You may have forgotten about the catastrophic mudslides that hit Venezuela in 1999. I will never forget walking with a woman on a devastated mountainside as she pointed at homes where she and relatives once lived. “Es mi casa,” she said, gesturing to some rubble, part of it recognizable as the top of a wall, the rest of her home swept away or buried in mud hardened like concrete. Another woman recalled that horrible night, gesturing downward with her arm, talking about the terror that came rushing down the mountainside, repeating, “cadave” — corpses sliding down in a torrent of mud.
My role as editor of The Gazette during the 2008 flood has received plenty of attention, so I won’t belabor it here. And I recently recalled my role covering the 9/11 attack from a distance. In a career that started in the 1970s, I have covered dozens of tornadoes, floods and other disasters as a reporter and editor. The stories are emotional. You can’t help but feel the human impact, sharing joy and heartbreak with people you interview. But you develop a sort of professional shell that helps you function and keeps you from feeling too deeply.
This week I learned a bit of what it’s like to be one of those people I used to cover, waiting anxiously to learn whether a loved one had survived, trying to bring her to safety. (more…)