The Nancybelle Project
Lab notes on my research project in multi-threaded storytelling for journalism.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Friday, August 7, 2009
Helen Epstein and the art of narrative: live chat August 23, 11 am EDT
The feedback from the BlogHer '09 conference was loud and clear on at least one point: there's a lot of interest in the craft of writing. When it comes to having conversations about non-fiction writing, few have the stature as a literary journalist and teacher of writing that Helen Epstein has attained.
I'm pleased to announce that Epstein will be available for a live-chat with BlogHer readers on August 23, at 11 am EDT. Use the dialog box above to sign up for an email reminder, and to participate in the chat on Sunday morning.
The author of five books and dozens of magazine articles for such outlets as the New York Times magazine, Epstein was born in Prague to parents who survived the concentration camps during World War II, and raised in New York. Her childhood was the subject of her acclaimed first book, Children of the Holocaust. In May, Epstein reflected that she still gets letters and emails about the book 30 years later.
It was also the first of several works of memoir that followed, including the recent Amazon short, Swimming Against the Stereotype: The Story of a Twentieth Century Jewish Athlete. Another Amazon short, "Memoir: How I Read It, Write It, Use It," is especially useful for bloggers who write from life experience.
In this 2003 Washington Post article, Epstein shared some thoughts about memoir writing that will likely ring true for many bloggers:
"While accuracy in memoir is also a matter of honor, few of the other conventions apply. The first-person enjoys unchecked authority; objectivity has been debunked as a canard; literary and scientific theory question the validity of memory; and the economics of publishing have made hands-on editors nearly extinct. Memoir is a hybrid form, integrating techniques of fiction, poetry, travel writing, journalism, historiography and the essay. That's one of the reasons writers like it."
Epstein's writing about the arts is also top-notch. As with Children of the Holocaust, her biography of Shakespeare Company founder Joseph Papp was named a New York Times book of the Year. A new edition of Music Talks, her exquisite collection of profiles of musicians such as YoYo Ma, Leonard Bernstein and Vladimir Horowitz, is due out in September.
Epstein also blogs about the arts at Arts Fuse.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The videogame as film metaphor: Google Chrome ad
Eye tracking research has always been important to print designers, and has become even more critical in web design. This video ad has drawn heavy attention because itscored highly in eye tracking tests, but I'm interested in it because it employs the simple but powerfully evocative metaphor of a game of pong to draw viewers in. It makes me think about videogame conventions as storytelling devices in other media.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
More programming in Scratch
I've been learning to use this Java-based language to create lessons for our interactive journalism camp, which starts tomorrow. Based on reactions, this is my best one to date, on photojournalism:
Learn more about this project
With each project, my thinking on the completion of the Nancybelle project gets clearer.
Friday, February 29, 2008
My take on CoverItLive, now at Poynter
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Nancybelle Valentine's family tree
This information is based on interviews with Nancybelle and her mother, a 2001 newspaper interview with her mother, and searches of the 1880 and 1930 US Census data. The one area of uncertainty is the information on Nancybelle 's grandmother. Her name was Rovutter Daniel Wilson, but she was known as Annie within her family. I found a census record for an Ann Daniel that largely corresponded to the information Elder Nancybelle gave me about her grandmother. Thus, the lines drawn from her images are wavy to denote this uncertainty.
If you have trouble reading the text on the image, try this page.
The images of Nancybelle and her sister are by James Vanderzee.