Behind Dangerous Minds
Clip of original Alligator Avenue story Click to read online version of original story

The Story Behind the Story


Ever wonder about what's behind the story? Where did the story idea come from? Why did the reporter write one lede instead of a different one? What happens to all those terrific details that simply have no room to live in the space-constrained world of print? What gets cut and what doesn't? What do you leave out when you only have 14 column inches of print and 33 inches worth of copy?

Click below to hear the story behind the an everyday feature story-- a reporter's version of a director's cut.


  • Overview of story
  • Overview of Books for Prisoners story: A story I almost didn't write. (3:30 min. 3.21 MB/MP3)
  • The Writing Process
  • The Writer's Process: How I approach writing, or how I avoid approach writing. (3:09 min. 2.87 MB/MP3)
  • The Reporting Process
  • The Reporting Process: How I approach a reporting a feature story, or any kind of writing. (3:48 min. 3.48 MB/MP3)
  • The Letters
  • The Letters: When elements are off limits.(4:34 min. 4.18 MB/MP3)
  • Cutting
  • What to Cut: When 30 column inches of story becomes 14 inches in print. (3:42 min. 3.39 MB/MP3)
Cher Phillips | Copyright © April 2005