Moni Basu

Welcome! I want to start by asking about a quote of yours “I like to tell extraordinary stories about ordinary people.”

I worked for almost 20 years for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where I matured as a reporter and editor; and I covered presidential elections, earthquakes, and hurricanes, you name it. I covered the biggest stories of the day. And I always thought you had to write these sweeping stories as a news reporter. In Iraq, I realized that when you focus on one person, when you narrow the lens, it deepens the story. I learned how to tell stories through one ordinary person who readers could connect with in some way; I learned how to tell stories that evoke empathy. People tend to remember those stories.

You cant just get stories like that from a 10-minute interview. I’m asking people to share their lives with me. That means I want to come sit on your couch for the next seven days and see what’s happening in your household. So trust is important. The two things we talk about in narrative journalism is, first of all, you have to have a great idea, but then the second step is to find someone to tell that story through. But how do you gain access to that person? Well, they have to trust you.

Read the full interview with Moni Basu in The Blue Mountain Review, December 2023.