Episode 13: A candid conversation with Washington Post reporter Soraya McDonald

A screenshot of McDonald's article "Retellings of 'Romeo and Juliet' ranked. She's seen all ten of them. And not because she had to write the article.

A screenshot of McDonald’s article “Retellings of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ranked. She’s seen all ten of them. And not because she had to write the article.

This week’s episode features a candid conversation with Washington Post reporter Soraya McDonald. In this interview, you’ll recognize right away the wit that shades much of her prose.  Soraya is a graduate of Howard University and began covering the high school sports desk as a college intern at the Washington Post. After traveling across the country completing journalism fellowships, internships, and eventually employment, Soraya – a woman from a small town in North Carolina -returned to the Washington Post where she eventually became a staff reporter.

I discovered her work last year when I read an article about a female gamer who had received death threats. Soraya had been covering the story for some time, and I wanted her to speak to my article writing class.

When I started Behind the Prose, I knew she would be an amazing guest. I have a ton of bonus  material which includes what I’m calling a how-to-make-the-most-out-of-a-college-experience guide for students and the rest of us who might be sitting back wondering where we went wrong.

Episode 13 also gives you the 411 on a new daily humor site, The Reject Pile. Founded by writer Joel Miller, the site wants your unwanted work. Thank goodness somebody finally does!

Listen below or download on iTunes. Show transcripts are available here.

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Links to people or places mentioned in the episode:

Check out all of Soraya’s work on the Washington Post
Jemele Hill, ESPN reporter
Sundance Film Festival
Elton John is boycotting Dolce and Gabbana for calling children conceived with IVF ‘synthetic’ by Soraya McDonald
Retellings of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ranked by Soraya McDonald

Show Notes:

0:01 Today’s episode of Behind the Prose is sponsored by Scrivener. A word processor and project management tool that helps you get to the end of that awkward first draft. And believe you me, it’s awkward. For more information visit literatureandlatte.com.

1:08 Writer’s Check In
3:26 Feature: The Reject Pile and Editor Joel Miller
8:22 Feature Guest: Soraya McDonald
9:09 On working at the Washington Post
11:06 Soraya on writing with a deadline
17:58 Crafting a colloquial and comic voice
19:20 You’ve seen how many versions of Romeo and Juliet?
23:41 Where’s Leo’s Oscar?
26:21 On achieving good pace in news writing
27:30 Soraya’s favorite genre to write in is . . .
30:00 A game with no name!
32:56 Sundance Film Festival is a very supportive atmosphere

Soraya McDonald

Soraya McDonald

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.