Jogging with Ortega
September 16, 2009 § 1 Comment
Journalist Ron Arias offers some background on his essay from Brevity 31, “Snakes:”
In working news and feature stories I often ached to tell what was happening around the edges. Nothing long and sometimes the stories were little more than anecdotes. They were moments like watching a starving little Somali girl wait for the nurse’s verdict on whether she should go in the “salvageable” line or the hopeless, dying line; or my crazy, bullet dodging ride down “suicide alley” in Sarajevo; or when I swallowed fear while following a kid through a potentially deadly minefield in Khe Sahn, or when I tried to outlast the heat and drug-runners along the Arizona-Sonora border. On these and many other assignments I was a participant and not just an observer. In fact, I think all journalists are participants if emotions are involve.
My behind-the-scenes run with Daniel Ortega was more amusing and revealing of the man than what appeared in the published People magazine piece. I’m glad Brevity exists as an outlet for such stories. But I also found that it’s taken me a few years and a lot of dry runs to begin purging my writing of an easy reliance on all the usual rhetorical tricks of the reporter’s trade. Not easy but I believe I’m making progress.