Archives: reporting

David Simon: life on the mean streets of Baltimore and the fading power of journalism

June 12, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: fiction, journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

In 1983, David Simon had finished at the University of Maryland and was trying to make it onto the metro staff of a big city newspaper. He was stringing—writing as a freelancer—for the Baltimore Sun, covering stories around College Park and the UM campus. Simon had cut his teeth as a student journalist on The • Read More »

Roger Angell, pitch-perfect prose about the game and meaning of baseball

May 27, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: baseball, journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

When Roger Angell wrote about baseball, which he did frequently but not often enough, he could put you in the seat next to him in the ballpark. It would be a good seat, not in the press box with all of the sportswriting swells and television hotshots, but right down there in the stands among • Read More »

Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones: one told the truth, the other did not

May 21, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

The contrast between Walter Duranty and Gareth Jones is stark and ultimately tragic. Duranty was the correspondent for the New York Times and covered the Soviet Union and the rise of Joseph Stalin for more than a dozen years in the 1920s and 1930s. He interviewed Stalin a number of times and always wrote favorable • Read More »

The education of August Wilson, a current combat artist, and continuing giveaways: newsletter, April 22, 2022

April 22, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,324) on Friday, April 22, 2022. “I like someone who speaks his mind—you know, someone who says what he thinks.” Undoubtedly, you have heard this sentiment expressed in some form or another. Speaking one’s mind is thought to be an admirable quality. I’m not so • Read More »

The rites of April, Manly Wade Wellman, and some nifty giveaways: newsletter, April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,234) on Friday, April 15, 2022. One of my personal rites of April—in addition to observing Opening Day and National Poetry Month (see below)—is having to restart my beehives, which for the past several years have died out during the fall. Fortunately, this task is • Read More »

Charles Dickens, Parliamentary reporter; Antonio Vivaldi, and wide-ranging reader reaction: newsletter, October 22, 2021

October 23, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,290) on Friday, October 22, 2021. We live about five miles outside a small town on a winding road in an area that would definitely be termed as rural. Last Friday night, the weather permitted me to sit outside on my back porch and listen • Read More »

Millions of Cats, Passing notes, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and more on Opening Day: newsletter, April 2, 2021

April 4, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, history, journalism, newsletter, reporters, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,369) on Friday, April 2, 2021.     The 2019 college admissions scandal that resulted in the indictments of more than 50 people — most of them the well-off and well-intentioned parents of college-aged children — was based on an idea that many people carry • Read More »

Maxine Cheshire, Martha Gellhorn, and the poet who died too soon: newsletter, March 5, 2021

March 7, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, reporters, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,386) on Friday, March 5, 2021.   When I got into the rhythm of writing this newsletter several years ago, one of the things that I knew early on was that I wanted to learn more about – and write about — women who had • Read More »

Maxine Cheshire: a reporter’s instinct and a little luck

March 6, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, journalists, reporters, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writers.

Maxine Cheshire was a reporter who knew how to get under people’s skin. She irritated Frank Sinatra into a drunken, expletive-ridden rant that was witnessed by dozens of people. She made Jacqueline Kennedy cry and provoked a presidential call to her publisher. She exposed the Nixon family’s greed in keeping gifts from foreign leaders. More • Read More »

Susan Glaspell, a forgotten feminist writer, and Lawrence Block, successful and prolific: newsletter, January 15, 2021

January 17, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, newsletter, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

  A common saying among woodworkers – one you have probably heard – is “measure twice, cut once.” That saying counsels us to be careful. But there is another saying that is less well-known and maybe just as important: “Let the tools do the work.” What that saying tells us is that sometimes we can • Read More »

Richard Tregaskis, the tall guy on Guadalcanal

November 28, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

The Marines that he wrote about on Guadalcanal would tell Richard Tregaskis that if the Japanese captured him, they would probably use him as an “observation post.” They weren’t far from wrong. Tregaskis, a reporter during World War II for the International News Service, was six-feet, seven-inches tall — tall enough to be an observation • Read More »

The unknown Jacques Futrelle, Drew Pearson (part 2), and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, October 30, 2020

November 1, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, podcasting, reporters, reporting, writers.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, October 30, 2020. Back to the (Zoom) Future. In the last few days, I attended a poetry reading of a friend’s new book on Facebook; I helped another friend launch a book on Zoom; and I attended a memorial service on YouTube​ for a friend • Read More »

More on Mary Mapes Dodge, Josephine Tey and paranoia, and a couple of podcast recommendations: newsletter, September 18, 2020

September 21, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, newsletter, podcasting, reporters, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,529) on Friday, September 18, 2020.   Getting a book that you have anticipated for a while and then having it live up to your expectations is a particular delight. That happened to me with the arrival of Ian Toll‘s Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western • Read More »

Richard Ben Cramer on ‘what it took’ for Joe Biden

August 31, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

Richard Ben Cramer, an extraordinary reporter, could pack enough energy into a paragraph to charge a lightning bolt. To read Cramer is to get caught up in his rhythm, to follow is thinking, and to come to his understanding of the subject he was reporting on. Cramer brought all of his writing and reporting talent • Read More »

Being tall at Guadalcanal, a notorious pirate, rural noir, and the serial killer: newsletter, August 14, 2020

August 17, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, fiction, history, newsletter, podcasting, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, August 14, 2020.   One of the things on my mind this week is the concept of respect. The thinking on that was kicked off by an NYT column by Bret Stephens on the 18th-century politician and philosopher Edmund Burke (Why Edmund Burke • Read More »

Changing American attitudes toward slavery, police reporting reconsidered, and reader reactions: newsletter, July 17, 2020

July 18, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, Civil War, history, newsletter, reporting, Women writers and journalists, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, July 17, 2020.   The world gets crazier and the pandemic, in America, gets worse. My heart is with those who have to make difficult decisions, from sending their kids to school to ordering businesses to shut down. I pray for their • Read More »

The sharp words of Ida Tarbell, the dilemma of Woody Allen, more on cultural appropriation, and reader reaction: newsletter, March 20, 2020

March 22, 2020 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, newsletter, reporting, writers, writing.

This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,597) on Friday, March 20, 2020. The magnitude and rapidity with which the world has changed in the last week lies beyond our complete understanding. Those things that we could confidently predict — high school graduations, opening day of the baseball season, the church service • Read More »