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Bronstein and the shooter

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member


    I don't see a thread for this elsewhere and I was wanting to talk about the journalism of this anyway.

    I saw lots of chatter that said this was the Most. Important. Story. Ever. today and I, myself, read it very early this morning. Even before Phil Bronstein made his appearance on the Today Show to discuss this Very. Important. Story.

    And, I guess, I came away unimpressed. The story reads like a Bronstein vanity project and as it was a product of his new reporting operation, it reads like it came with a no edit clause because this is a Very. Important. Story. where Bronstein talked to the CEOs he knows at Twitter or something and didn't need some editor at Esquire messing up the flow of the stories shared by warriors and war correspondents such as Bronstein, as the story notes repeatedly.

    I know Bronstein has street cred. Big-time, big-city editor with a Pulitzer (finalist a quick Google says) in his pocket from his reporting days.

    But Bronstein hasn't written for a magazine in ages, and I would have love to seen someone like Jones or Pierce taken a crack at this thing because the story is very important. Maybe the resolution, or at least a significant point in the most important story of this decade but the way it was written made it seem self indulgent from my point of view.

  2. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    you don't think Jones or Pierce are self-indulgent writers? Not saying they're overindulgent, because I enjoy their styles, but I'm not sure that this story needed more verbal flair, which I think (and I may be mistaken) is the gist of what you're saying.

    I liked the back-and-forth order of the piece, and while there were certainly parts where it seemed like Bronstein was unnecessarily big-timing the reader by dropping mentions of his bonafides, I think this story merits the mention that not anyone could have gotten this interview. Tell "the Shooter" that Chris Jones or Charlie Pierce wants to interview you? OK. Tell "the Shooter" that the guy who used to bang Sharon Stone wants to interview you? Well, that comes with more cache.
  3. gravehunter

    gravehunter Member

    I just didn't think that this story needed to be written in the first person. That set a bad tone early on....to the point that I didn't bother to go beyond the first page.
  4. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Yeah, not sure at all how a writer can illustrate the story of the shooter by injecting himself into that story. Certainly didn't work well here at least.
  5. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    I found this to be a compelling read. I have no issues with how it was written. I consider the fact that the writer gained the trust of the The Shooter in order to tell the story contribute to the style and the first person usage.
    Also, I liked the fact this wasn't just a story about The Mission. The fact that The Shooter and his fellow SEAL team members are screwed when they leave the military.
    We certainly can be critical, can't we?
  6. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    I re-read the first two pages, where Bronstein's voice is most prominent -- before details of the mission are told in "the Shooter's" own words -- and I can see where it might come off heavyhanded and unnecessary. But this is a supreme "get," one that was attained by Bronstein, and one I'd liken to a TV reporter (Martin Bashir? Oprah?) who has the means of getting an exclusive because of his track record. These guys have large egos, the type that think in terms of getting huge gets like this, and the insertion of their personality is to a certain extent part and parcel of the whole deal.

    I found "the Shooter's" own words eclipsed any reservations about the format.
  7. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    The writer had to gain his subject's trust. The only way to do that was through personal contact that goes beyond the typical writer-source relationship. Also, the writer had the subject sitting in the writer's backyard. If the writer just said the subject was sitting in "a" backyard isn't that fudging the facts?
  8. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    Yep. "I used to bang Sharon Stone" is the way to impress a Seal.
  9. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    well, you being a waterytart, I will obviously concede that you know how to impress a Seal.
  10. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

  11. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think it's strange that Chris Jones and Charles P. Pierce would be mentioned in the same sentence as being ideal for the same project. They might be the opposite ends of the big-time magazine writing spectrum.
  12. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Jones and Pierce were the first two names of Esquire writers I could think of.

    What I was trying to say was I wish the story had been done by a stronger magazine writer like a Jones or a Pierce. I could have easily said Junod or one the people who typically writes about the military, like the guy who wrote about the Russian theater, whose name I can't remember.

    I've noted that Esquire is already engaging in a vigorous defense of the piece. And that's fair, they did publish it but I think more and more that the article didn't get the typical fact checking and editing that it would have gotten if it had been done by one the regular Esquire writers.
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