Thursday, May 01, 2008

Proper journalism

An extraordinary piece about the death of an American soldier in Iraq. Be warned, it's extremely long and harrowing, but this is what Pulitzer Prizes are provided for. It's from Esquire, so be prepared, in addition, for pictures of Posh Spice and various other women wearing hardly any clothes.
It's the incredibly detailed reporting that sticks in the mind, journalism which stems from a long American tradition and which avoids the very British temptations of glibness, cynicism and an undermining flippancy. Some may say it's a style which is too conscious of its own importance, but what could be more important than this story, so human and yet so politically charged?
The red lights on digital bugles played at funerals by trained military mime artistes; that empty white glove; the mother's cigarette kit; the world's biggest mortuary...extraordinary.
It's by someone called Chris Jones. He seems to be an all-round hack, too, tackling showbiz (Scarlett Johannson and Naomi Watts) and sport with equal aplomb. People trust him, I think, and talk to him. And he respects that.

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