Saturday, 21 February 2009

#89 – Revisit disaster scenes

Or why editors love recovery stories.

Cast iron rule?
There’s no cast iron rule about what stories editors will always accept, but the closest you can get to it is that they will always take a piece on a place that is recovering from a major setback.

Two years on...
Travel sections and magazines always have pieces along the lines of “New Orleans, two years on” or Bali, five years after the bombings”. The same applies to anywhere that suffers an earthquake, gets buried by a volcano or suffers massive hurricane damage.

Mumbai and the tsunami
It’ll happen with Mumbai soon enough, and there will be a glut of stories about the areas affected by 2004’s Boxing Day tsunami towards the end of this year.

Strong narrative
The reasons why such stories are liked by editors are fairly obvious. They’ve got a strong narrative, and already have reader recognition due to the catastrophe. Even the casual reader will know what the story is about, and is likely to have a passing interest in how the place is recovering.

Good ingredients for a travel story
These recovery stories are newsy, have strong human interest, and they’re clearly up-to-date. All are good ingredients for a travel story, even if it may seem a little ghoulish pitching it out.

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