I’ve been working a crazy freelance project for the last couple of weeks which has meant no blogging, no working on Project Lazarette, and just a little sleep here and there. I was able, however, to squeeze in some reporting!
The Bold Italic is an online publication here in San Francisco that focuses on experiential journalism presented amidst beautiful design. I reported a two part story for them about our controversial city ballot initiative Prop L, making it illegal to sit or lie on sidewalks between certain hours.
Proposition L: Man is the rhetoric on this one confusing (classic California ballot initiative). The pro side claims “sidewalks are for everyone” and the con side says “sidewalks are for people.” In Part One of my story I hung out on street corners and talked to the folks that do the sitting and lying. And then in Part Two I talked to the merchants who deal with them every day.
The Process: Well, if you can believe it, I took a little notebook and walked down to Haight St and actually talked to people. Things I did not use: my computer, the internet, Gawker, my iPhone, links from SFist. People, for the most part, were ready to talk, though a few folks told me they wanted to keep their opinions to themselves because it was too divisive of an issue. It helped to be so close to my front door because I was able to take breaks to come back and type up notes and draft scenes. But the biggest undertaking was the edit. My original draft was easily 6000 words – and B/I wanted 1500 apiece. I cut all day up to the deadline and still delivered some way-too-long articles.
The Bold Italic: I’m super-impressed with the presentation of the stories (look at that scrolling!) and greatly enjoyed the experience. To go from the messy Word doc I emailed over to them to these two gorgeous pages was an awesome transformation. I have a bias toward any online publication that adds something new to the conversation instead of just re-blogging with clever headlines, and I think The Bold Italic does a great job in doing this. Original content + Readable style + Eye-catching design = Great online content.