cluebucket + behind_the_beautiful_flowers   1

Reporting Poverty, Emily Brennan interviews Katherine Boo - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
"The hope is for the reader to engage with them as individuals and see how these people really do get around social obstacles, when there is a limited distribution of opportunities, when there are institutional problems, be it police corruption or poor public hospitals and schools. I don’t think readers will get invested in what potential is being squandered if they don’t engage with the people in the story as individuals. When you have a kid who is killed, I want the reader to feel what I felt and what the people of Annawadi felt, and because of that, get involved in the problems of criminal or social justice."

"Often the people who have the most verbal dexterity have had some amount of education in their lives, and you don’t want to limit your reporting to just those people. You take a kid like Sunil, the young scavenger, he’s been raising himself, so conducting long interviews and eliciting illustrative anecdotes was out of the question. When I started spending time with him, it became clear that Sunil had an extremely strong aesthetic sense that helped him through life. Moments of natural beauty were very important to him."
...
"We take stories and purvey them to people with money. And in the conventions of my profession, which I try to adhere to, we can’t pay people for stories. Anyone with a conscience who does this work grapples with that reality, and if they don’t, I’d worry... But if writing about people who are not yourself is illegitimate, then the only legitimate work is autobiography; and as a reader and a citizen, I don’t want to live in that world. Because if you take a kid like Sunil, who’s been denied the possibility of an education that allows him to write his own story, and all of the people who lack the means and access to do so, they go down the memory hole. They’re lost. What it comes down to is, the only thing worse than being a poverty reporter is if no one ever wrote about it at all."
guernicamag  emily_brennan  katherine_boo  india  mumbai  annawadi  slum  poverty  reporter  writer  reporting  story  globalization  society  interview  long-term  book  behind_the_beautiful_flowers  2012  2010s  21st_century 
september 2012 by cluebucket

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