Tag Archives: journalism

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Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades

Trump ran up nearly a billion dollars in red ink from spectacular real estate failures — this is the guy who’s running for President because he’s supposedly a great businessman — enough to shield him from paying taxes for 18 years.

My favorite part of the story is where the Times finds Trump’s accountant from the 90s, Jack Mitnick, who’s now 80 years old and verifies the record.

“This is legit,” he said, stabbing a finger into the document….

[Mitnick] contrasted Fred Trump’s attention to detail with what he described as Mr. Trump’s brash and undisciplined style. He recalled, for example, that when Donald and Ivana Trump came in each year to sign their tax forms, it was almost always Ivana who asked more questions….

Mr. Mitnick … said there were times when even he, for all his years helping wealthy New Yorkers navigate the tax code, found it difficult to face the incongruity of his work for Mr. Trump. He felt keenly aware that Mr. Trump was living a life of unimaginable luxury thanks in part to Mr. Mitnick’s ability to relieve him of the burden of paying taxes like everyone else.

“Here the guy was building incredible net worth and not paying tax on it,” he said.

David Barstow, Susanne Craig, Russ Buettner and Megan Twohey report for the New York Times in an admirable feat of old-fashioned investigative journalism.

 

Journalist Philip Caputo remembers his landmark Esquire profile of William Styron

Caputo set out to profile Styron in 1985, when Styron, “one of the towering figures in American letters,” was working on the novel “The Way of the Warrior.” The two men shared an experience as Marines — Styron had praised Caputo’s 1977 Vietnam memoir, “A Rumor of War” — which proved stronger than their common bond as writers, according to the Esquire Classic Podcast.

Styron fell into a deep depression during the reporting of the story, which changed the nature of the profile radically. And Styron never finished his novel, instead writing a 1990 mediation on depression, “Darkness Visible,” that “remains one of the most lucid and illuminating accounts of the illness,” according to the notes for the podcast.

“Caputo joins host David Brancaccio to discuss Styron’s greatness as a writer and how [Styron’s] struggle against depression—and his ability to articulate it in print—stands, in some regards, as his ultimate literary achievement,” according to the notes.

Styron’s Choices, by Philip Caputo – Esquire Classic Podcast

Journalists need to collect “string:” fragments of ideas and information that might turn into stories later

Laura Shin at Poynter.org describes how several journalists build their string collections, and organize them — or don’t:

Fleeting thoughts and observations that seem interesting, if not directly relevant to your article, could someday lead to another story, whether that’s a quick blog post or a book.

Capturing these random thoughts in an organized fashion is challenging. That could be why few writers do what is sometimes called collecting “string” — or, random threads of thought that could someday be spun into a larger story. (When reporting this article, I approached many writers who said they do not collect string. Some even asked me how to define the term.)…

Whether you decide to go with a detailed organization scheme or a looser method, the emphasis here is that you should collect random thoughts and observations that seem interesting, whether or not you end up using them later. And you should have a method for reviewing them to make sure that the ideas you’ve collected don’t gather dust.

I’m thinking about trying out DevonThink, which now has an iOS app. Among other things, it seems like a good way to organize a string collection.

And this blog is of course a big string collection. Which might be a good tagline for it.

What Facebook gets wrong about that napalm-girl photo

Facebook is partly right: That is a disturbing photo.

But what’s disturbing about it isn’t the nudity.

What’s disturbing is that it’s a photo of a child who’s been severely burned in a napalm attack. A napalm attack by an American ally in an American war.

And it’s disturbing that Facebook thinks it’s the nudity that’s the problem.

Facebook Censors Iconic Vietnam War Photo Over Nudity – Mark Scott, The New York Times