La revista Virginia Quarterly Review, de 91 años de edad, realiza un experimento en Instagram. ¿De qué se trata? Cuenta historias de hasta 400 palabras.
El editor Pablo Reyes refiere a NiemanLab que están improvisando y que el potencial radica en la forma en la que Instagram se comporta como plataforma para dar forma al contenido.
El proyecto #VQRTrueStory es un experimento de no ficción, donde se comparten historias en Instagram, la web y la revista impresa. Así será todo el año y los escritores enviarán piezas semanales. Todos los contribuyentes tendrán un pequeño honorario por su trabajo.
Reyes mencionó que los ensayos en Instagram de VQR reciben el mismo tratamiento editorial que el resto de contenidos de la revista. El editor quiere quiere el material refleje todos los valores editoriales la publicación y presentar al mismo tiempo, variedad, integridad y compromiso.
El colaborador Jeff Sharlet dice estar muy interesado en la estética de las instantáneas. En su opinión, Instagram abre posibilidades radicalmente hasta para el periodismo, como YouTube lo hizo con el video.
“Sé que suena diáfano y sin compromiso, pero me gusta la idea de que este proyecto de la oportunidad a ciertos profesionales de acercarse a proyectos apasionantes de una manera nueva”, comentó Reyes.
This week #VQRTrueStory presents @jamiealliotts on encounters on the sidewalks of Manhattan (4/4): “I know you,” he says. “I know you, man. I know you.” I’ve yet to sit down. I assure him we’ve never met. “Naw, man, naw. I know you, man—I KNOW you.” I tell him again we’ve never met. “Naw, man.” He shakes his head. “I know you. You arrested me.” I assure him I’ve never arrested him, never arrested anyone. “Naw, naw, naw, you ARRESTED me.” He cocks his head, narrows his eyes. “Which precinct you work at again?” // We’re on West 40th Street, just around the corner from that statue of Jackie Gleason, the one of him as Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners. The guy points at my cigarette, wiggles his finger. I sit down, hand him one, light it. It’s 9:45 a.m. “Man, I KNOW you’re a cop.” I ask for his first name. He leans back, wincing. Then a light goes on. “Biggie Smalls,” he says, grinning. “Yeah, yeah, Biggie Smalls, Biggie Smalls.” // He wants money. I want a story. A low-stakes showdown. “Aiight, aiight,” he says. “I know how this works, I know how this works. You want some crazy shit? You want some crazy shit? Yeah, yeah, I’ll give you some crazy shit. I got crack stories, bust stories—” I shake my head, say that’s not how it works, you’ve gotta be honest. He looks away, takes a drag, blows smoke, looks back at me. “I know you, man—I KNOW you.” I get up to leave. “Wait, wait!” he says, thinking, taking another drag, blowing more smoke. Then: “I’m telling you, man, I know you.” I start to walk away. He flicks his cigarette. It flies past my kneecaps, sails over the sidewalk between a few pedestrians, nearly grazes a hot dog vendor’s ankle before dropping into a puddle on the other side of the curb and—tsst—fizzling out in the murky water. A perfect shot. “I know you,” he says again, swiping the air with his finger. “We got high together.” I turn, face him, shrug. “Make up your fucking mind, man. Am I a cop or did we get high together?” #smoke #crackstories #buststories #tsst #biggiesmalls #aperfectshot #itsinthehole #jackiegleason #thehoneymooners #bullshit #makeupyourmind #amiacop #streetlife #sidewalks #truestories #streetstories #nyc #VQRTrueStoryAlliotts
This week #VQRTrueStory presents @jamiealliotts on encounters on the sidewalks of Manhattan: (3/4) Gregg Simons is thirty-one, calm, articulate, friendly. The tattoo running across his forehead used to read “Fuck Society.” Now, it’s checkered. // Gregg says he stole a car when he was fifteen. He and a buddy led cops on a high-speed chase. Cocoa Beach to Orlando. “It was all over the news,” he says. Like O. J.? Like O. J. “I was famous for two months.” The cops spike-stripped the car, blasted them with Mace, “swarmed us, cuffed us, kicked us around.” Then they found the cocaine. Lots of it. He did three and a half years in juvie. “I got lucky,” he says about the time. // His girl introduced him to freight-hopping. He’s been jumping trains for four years. She’s in Springfield, Massachusetts, holding down their room till he gets back. He blinks a few times. “Man, I found the one chick everybody talks about finding. With her, I’m happy.” // No more heroin for Gregg. “I stick to weed now.” Yeah? “Yeah. It’s a lot better than nodding out on the sidewalk, trying to suck my own dick, drooling all over myself.” He’s been arrested in Nashville, New Orleans, elsewhere. “That’s her only rule: call once a month.” He means his mother. She’s happy whenever he calls from jail. “At least she knows I’m safe, I’ll be there for a while.” // I ask if he’ll ever go straight, settle down. “Shit, I’ll make more money asking people for a quarter than I will working a regular job.” I know he’s right. // I want to say something. That I stole a car when I was sixteen. That I used to shoot dope, live on the street, make a hundred bucks a day begging for change, keep my mother wondering when she was going to get that other kind of call. That I turned it around, started writing about it—the life, how hard it is to give up—that he can, too, that he should, that forty-one ain’t thirty-one, that—further. // I want to say something, but I don’t. It’s not my place. It’s not my time. They’re not my checkers.
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This week #VQRTrueStory presents @jamiealliotts on encounters on the sidewalks of Manhattan: (1/4) Joseph Ritter used to be a fighter. Says he knocked out Bam Bam Bogner in ’87. Second round. “I caught him real quick with a three-piece combination—bing-bing-bing.” Says a boxing magazine once called him up-and-coming. He grins: “And smokin’.” No drugs or booze, he says. Just coffee and cigarettes. “I smoke like a Chevy with a bad oil leak.” // Says he fought in Iraq, too. Fallujah, early ’90s. His convoy rolled into a village. “There weren’t supposed to be any combatants.” But there were. An RPG destroyed the lead Hummer. “The guys inside were gone, it lit up like a torch.” He ran to help a buddy who was hit, drag him the hell out of there. That’s when the AK-47 blew his hip apart. Three shots. “All I felt was burning, like I was on fire. Next thing I knew I was in a helicopter.” // Joseph wants to work. He worked as a plumber in Philly. “War’s easier than being homeless,” he says. He was offered a plumbing job—no money for boots. A job waiting tables—no money for shirts. “No this, no that, no, no, no, no, no. No job, no phone, no money, no clothes, no way to clean up. All those nos piled up make things really difficult. The one thing I do have is need.” I start to feel like he’s trying to sell me something. Before I sat down, I’d offered him ten bucks. “I was hoping for twenty,” he’d said. // I ask how he ended up out here. Says his ex-wife got a DWI with their kids in the car. Child Services took the kids; he came up from Philly; the judge threatened him with abandonment charges; the money for hotel rooms ran out; here he is. Something doesn’t add up. Maybe. I ask to see the scars. The ones from that AK-47. “That’s a little personal, bro. They’re near my groin, right above my gun.” Later I’ll look up Bogner: Bang Bang, not Bam Bam. No record of a bout with a guy named Ritter. // “I love to do it,” he says. He means fighting. “In 130 seconds, I’ll hit a guy sixty times. My hands are like a machine gun.” He opens and closes his fists. Five, six times. Fast—really fast. Knuckles pop like firecrackers, dozens of them. He smiles. “Everybody calls me Champ.”
This week #VQRTrueStory presents @laura.kasinof on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lesotho (3/5): “We cannot stand here and claim that there is a cure [for HIV] in Lesotho.” // Malefetsane Liau is the head of the Traditional Healers Association and this is his definitive answer. // But then, after a moment’s pause, a caveat. A translator translates his Sesotho into English: “Despite that, we are servants of the spirits.” // “And the angels,” Malefetsane pipes in, in English. // “Servants of the spirits and the angels,” the translator continues. “We cannot dispute that the ancestors and the angels have powers. There is nothing they cannot heal.” // Have you ever witnessed someone cured of HIV? // “We don’t want to dwell on miracles,” Malefetsane says, speaking in English now. “What we want is to sit here and support the body of the person with vitamins. But some miracles, we have seen them!” // Could I interview someone who was cured? // “We don’t want to dwell on miracles,” Malefetsane repeats. He sits in the kitchen of his home in Maseru. Large dried herbs are scattered on his table like pieces of crusted squid. Medicine bottles filled with vitamins and supplements are piled on top of one another—a true homeopath’s home. // The problem in Lesotho, Malefetsane continues, is that its people are forgetting their culture. He sees the traditional healers as a vital link between the Basotho and their ancient traditions, which modernity is erasing—foreign doctors telling young boys to be circumcised at too young an age, for example. After all, there are illnesses a medical doctor cannot address. // “We have got some light tea like herbs that are rich in minerals and vitamins. We can drink it twice in a day, no problem,” he says. “This one [antiretrovirals], I ask myself: Is it healthy or, at the end of the day, will it kill a person?” (Laura Kasinof reported from Lesotho on an @InternationalReportingProject fellowship.)
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