What is Back Story?

By Mike

Daily Dispatches: Nairobi will be as much about the process of photojournalism as it will be about the product. You will see our main Features on the Home page – that’s the product. But we’re keen to engage with you too about how we go about getting our stories and pictures, who we try to interview, where we research background material and who we talk to along the way – this is the process.

And that’s where Back Story comes in. Whenever I’m working on a story, I’d estimate that somewhere between 50% and 80% of the material I have gathered never gets into the newspaper or onto its website. Of course all that extra stuff feeds into my understanding of what I’m writing, helps me choose my emphasis and identify what’s crucial to include, and what can be cut. But I often feel that there should be a place where all that stuff that’s cut can still be read and talked about. This, the wags will quip, is why so many journalists write books – to set down somewhere all that work they did but for which they never got the glory.

I envisage that we’ll be using Back Story as a kind of Facebook-plus page. Somewhere that you’ll be able to see regular updates on what we’re doing and planning, where we can detail things that struck us during the reporting of each day’s Dispatch, links to bits and pieces that we’ve read, and random photos which might not exactly match the day’s subject.

This will also be the key place, alongside our Facebook and Twitter page, where we want to hear from you. Comment on each Feature, on these Back Story blogs, on anything you’d like us to be doing or something you think we’re missing. Daily Dispatches works on many levels – one of the key ones is that we want it to be interactive and participatory.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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