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Posts Tagged ‘Don Winslow’

Author Don Winslow on How He Boarded the Train to Literary Success

With the release of Oliver Stone’s new film Savages, a broader audience is set to discover the wondrous fiction of source author Don Winslow.

Winslow has already received much critical praise and royalties for a series of books framed around the notorious drug-dealing past of Laguna Beach. Before Savages and the just-released prequel The Kings of Cool, there was the author’s debut 1997 effort. As Winslow explains in today’s must-read OC Weekly cover story by Nick Schou, he cranked out that work from a very unusual perch:

Everything changed with The Death and Life of Bobby Z, which led to a three-book deal that allowed him to become a full-time writer. Winslow wrote the book on the train between San Juan Capistrano and downtown LA’s Union Station, during his commute to and from his day job.

Each leg of the journey took just more than an hour, and Winslow wrote one chapter per trip, two per day. “When I’d hear the conductor say, ‘Union Station, 10 minutes,’ whatever was happening in that chapter, I’d wrap it up,” he recalls. “It worked miracles.”

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White House Stops Staging Pictures of Live Speeches for News Photographers

Since Ronald Reagan, the White House has had a policy that still photography cannot be taken during a live presidential address, like the one President Obama gave announcing Osama bin Laden‘s death.

The reason still cameras are not allowed is simply because of the noise from the camera shutters and the placement of the teleprompter. But this policy results in the president having to re-enact part of his address so photographers can take pictures. After Obama’s speech on bin Laden, for example, once the president had finished addressing the nation, he “then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us,” explained Reuters photographer Jason Reed.

Apart from just being an odd thing to do, this re-enactment goes against the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics, which says: “Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.”

Even though this policy has been going on for decades, since Obama’s speech, it has blown up into a huge story, and not just on journalism blogs — we’ve even seen it covered on cable news channels. Perhaps the unexpected public outcry is because, as Poynter found in a survey,  30 of 50 newspaper front pages that used an Obama photo from the speech “implied or strongly suggested it was an image of the live address.”

But really, we think it had more to do with the fact that headlines on this story allowed for the serendipitous combination of the words “Bin Laden,” “Photo,” “Obama,” and “Staged.”

In any event, the White House caved into the demands of the angry public, and now has ended its practice of re-enacting presidential speeches, the Washington Post reports.

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