[Editorial] The Craft of Nonfiction
by The Milton Measure on Friday, April 22nd, 2016
In 2002 Milton launched its first non-fiction English class, pioneered and taught by David Smith. Exclusively for Class I students, the class provided a shift from the traditional English class, offering an intensive study of writing and personal narrative based in forging intrapersonal connection. Since, Milton’s “Non-fictions” has increased to three sections, taught by current English department staff Ms. Baker, Ms. Polk, and Ms. Goldenberg.
In today’s technologically fast-paced world, the art of long form journalism faces many challenges, especially that of instant gratification. It seems true full-length explorations have been limited to the often eclectic pages of The New Yorker and other magazines, replaced in the our social media feeds and our attention spans by quick thought pieces on the current, decaying state of world affairs.
The word “long” seems to be the very reason the form is dying. We urge you to instead think of these articles as extensive maps to follow. Spanning a word count upwards of 4,000 words, long-form journalism is, in essence, a recorded mapping of sources that answers a central question, explores a specific topic, and addresses a prevalent issue. At the end of a piece of nonfiction, there may be some conclusion, or no conclusion at all. Either way, however, a destination is reached, the result of a newly conceived foundation of common understanding and human empathy. To write non-fiction is to invest oneself wholeheartedly in an art form.
As a high-school publication, realistically, the nature of long-form journalism– the deep exploration, the meticulous pursuit of deeper understanding– is often lost. With short deadlines and the inconvenience of schoolwork, long form is often overly ambitious and nearly impossible to complete to satisfaction. Yet, our board believes that long-form persists in the world because, often, only in paced, steady discovery, one may capture the essence of a community, of an individual, or of a cause in it’s most raw and most beautiful form.
For this reason, we tapped into Milton’s own resource: the students who have been allowed and encouraged to pursue this form of exploration over the course of two semesters. With the encouragement of the non-fictions teachers, we accepted submissions from all three classes.
In the process of reading the multitude of submissions, with page counts surpassing thirteen, our board was touched by the insight, honesty, and eloquence of these Milton seniors. We hope that the Milton community takes the time to see the world through the inquisitive eyes of these students.
In this special issue you will find candid interviews with current Milton students, faculty, and staff as well as eccentric business owners, fashion spearheaders, recent immigrants, and one aspiring comedian, all framed by explorative profiles. The content may be as just as inspiring as it is, in some cases, emotionally difficult. We hope that you take advantage of this unique and rare opportunity to see our school and the greater world through the true mind of a Milton student. So sit down, flip to page one and enjoy journalism in perhaps its most captivating form. Thank you, Milton’s Nonfictions classes, for reminding us why we write.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7932