Sometimes, the only way to write something noteworthy is to completely submerge yourself in it. This is a tactic used by most writers, but especially by reporters and journalists.The writer I’m profiling, Nicholas Kristof, is a perfect example of this writing process.
Kristof has been known to report from the darkest corners of the world and completely immerse himself in the cultures of those around him. It is in these conditions that he produces his best work. “What changed me onto the trajectory that I ended up on is that I went out and was assigned abroad, lived a good chunk of my life abroad, and just encountered poverty, and that was just life-transforming,” Kristof told American Public Radio in 2010. “That once these issues become real and you see these things, you know, you can’t forget the people you meet and you want to try to make a difference in some way.” He will go to these places that the general public would find unpleasant and then shows that public what they’re ignoring.
Some journalists sit at a desk and compose pieces from email correspondence or interviews in a cozy coffee shop. Some journalists write when they’re living what they’re writing. However, that doesn’t necessary make one type better than the other. Do you take a silent oath as a reporter to risk your life for a good story? Or should you report from a distance?