Journalist and documentary filmmaker Mike Walter talks with Bob Meyers, NPF President, about “Breaking News, Breaking Down.” Mike’s film focuses on the lasting effect of traumatic events on the journalists that cover them. Mike recounts his own experience at the Pentagon on September 11th, as well as the difficulties faced by journalists in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other crises.
Joaquin Sapien and Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica talk with NPF’s Linda Streitfeld about their series on hydraulic fracturing, a little-known, yet controversial method of natural gas drilling. Sapien and Lustgarten are the 2009 winners of NPF’s Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy Writing. They discuss how they built their stories by spending months chasing the various aspects of the issue: digging through mountains of documents and legislation, as well as interviewing experts, government officials, agents of the drilling companies, and the people affected by the drilling’s environmental consequences.
Joseph Morton, Washington correspondent and bureau chief for the Omaha World-Herald, sits down with Bob Meyers, NPF President. In August 2010, online whistle-blower Wikileaks released thousands of classified documents related to the war in Afghanistan. Morton found a local angle for the story: focusing on the issue of civilian casualties and the impact on local servicemen. Morton spoke with fmr. Sen. Bob Kerrey and other sources to bring the story home. This interview discusses the value of adapting international and national headlines to suit a local news audience.
Kelly Kennedy, a reporter for Army Times and author of They Fought for Each Other: The triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq (St. Martin’s) sits down with Bob Meyers for the first interview in our new series of conversations with journalists who have gotten really interesting stories, how they did it and what the impact has been on them. The book is unrelenting in its depiction of the stomach-churning stress the troops live under, and shows the same kind of detail and respect for soldiering found in Michael Herr’s Dispatches. I interviewed Kelly after she spoke to our Paul Miller fellowship group, on July 7, 2010.