RE: EIGHT MILLION STORIES IN THE CITY

Yes, but what’s with the footnotes? To me, it read like boasting: look at how thorough my reporting was.

Still, a good piece.

Update: A DMN-working FBvian provides reasoning for going all David Foster Wallace-y and footnoting everything. But, alas, the FBvian cares not one bit about the rules of capitalization:

we debate[d] that decision but in the end felt the answer was clear: because we took a narrative approach on the story, attribution and sourcing would not be handled in the traditional manner. but we wanted readers to understand how we came to know what we wrote and to be assured that the reporting was deep and solid.

one additional feature i would point out to you: the notes in the web version are, of course, linked to each note number in the text of the story. so readers can call up the note without having to go to the end of the story. also, in several of the notes, we have embedded links to original source documents used in the reporting.

again, the goal was to give readers lots of information and documentation on our reporting, to help them understand why we wrote what we did. a side benefit, in our view, is that it does make the reporting process a bit more transparent to readers. the notes do give a sense to readers of how deeply reported this kind of piece is — and should be — before it is printed.

The best stories are the ones that allow you inside them, where the fact-gathering process falls away and the story–oh, alright, the “narrative”–emerges and commands your attention. In these pieces, that narrative grips you as tight as any short story could. Your goal, as a reader, is to find out how the story ends, not marvel at its assemblage.

Which is another way to say: the footnotes were a distraction.

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