The Power of Narrative 2019 has ended
Friday, March 22 • 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Beyond Good Guys and Bad Guys: Writing and Reporting Characters in Criminal Justice Stories

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One of the most satisfying aspects of reporting on criminal justice is its moral ambiguity. In a world too often characterized by victims and perpetrators — the innocent and the guilty — your job is to locate human beings to drive your storytelling: criminals who are more than their crime, victims who are more than what happened to them. This talk will cover both practical reporting tips and tricks as well as more narrative considerations as you identify, report on, and write your characters. When covering criminal justice topics, how and where do you cast your net to look for characters? How do you reach out to, and effectively correspond with, people in prison or jail? How do you settle on just the right main character to illustrate your story? How do you make some of society's most unsympathetic people into sympathetic characters without excusing their crimes?

avatar for Beth Schwartzapfel

Beth Schwartzapfel

Reporter, The Marshall Project
Beth Schwartzapfel is a staff writer for the Marshall Project, covering criminal justice. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Mother Jones. She won the June 2014 Sidney Award, the 2016 James Aronson Award, and the 2016 John Jay College/H.F. Guggenheim... Read More →

Friday March 22, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm
East Balcony

Attendees (12)