Today: writer Chris Jones
Chris Jones is a writer-at-large for Esquire. He’s won two American National Magazine Awards and has also written for ESPN: The Magazine and the National Post. His musings about his current project, renovating a 140-year-old house, and other topics can be found here. He was profiled in the RRJ in the Winter 2010 issue.
W. C. Heinz: “Death of a Racehorse” (New York Sun, 1949)
“When I started out being a sportswriter at the National Post, someone gave it to me and said, ‘This story contains everything you need to know about good sports writing.’ It’s a deadline story on a horse getting shot after breaking its leg. It’s just perfect. The language is simple, the quotes are perfect—the ending is fantastic. I’m always amazed that he wrote it on deadline at some racetrack when it was pouring rain. Heinz’s art is how simple the story is—everything is just perfectly distilled.”
Charles P. Pierce: “The Man. Amen.” (GQ, April 1997)
“This is basically the first and last time we got to see the real Tiger Woods. He’s telling dick jokes and being who he really is, and Charlie wrote about it. The story is a revelation, not only about Tiger Woods, but what you can do with a profile. The other thing about Charlie is that you can pick perfect sentences out of his stories. Time and again, he’s just a beautiful writer.”
Tom Junod: “The Falling Man” (Esquire, September 2003)
“I’m going to sound like a dink, but I’m going to choose an Esquire piece. There’s a famous photograph of a jumper [during the Sept. 11 attacks] and it almost looks like he’s flying. He’s just caught in the moment. It’s a chilling photograph. The story is basically about Tom trying to find out who that man is. I was saying that if Tom didn’t win the National Magazine Award, I would’ve been like Kanye West [who interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to say Beyoncé should’ve won]. I remember reading that story and thinking that sometimes you read stuff you’re not capable of writing. Tom is just in a class of his own. He didn’t win the National Magazine Award for it, but it’s become a seminal magazine story. It’s just a great combination of dogged, really hard reporting and beautiful writing.”