Narratively Speaking

Carl, Nina and Jeremy just produced a couple of stories about servers in some of New York’s fine dining establishments.  Those stories appear  this week on a recently launched digital magazine called Narratively.  We spoke with Narratively Managing Editor, Brendan Spiegel to learn more about this great new outpost for NYC’s untold stories.

The Recollective: What is the mission of Narratively?

Brendan: Narratively is devoted to in-depth, true, original storytelling. All of us have worked for New York-based newspapers and other media outlets, and even though there is so much media based in this city, we also think there are a lot of stories that go untold. Everyone else focuses on the gossip, the politics, the murders, crime, and sensational stories. We focus on the people, the neighborhoods, the communities that get to the hear of what this giant, crazy, amazing city is all about.

The Recollective: How are the stories presented and in what media?

Brendan: We publish one story each day. Each week, we have a theme and present four related stories, on tha theme, published once a day, Monday thorough Thursday. In a give week these might include a long-form essay, a short video documentary, an audio piece, a photo essay or an animated video. The idea is that the scope of what we publish is manageable–you only have one story to get through each day–but also that every story gets the time, space and medium it needs to be told in full. Nothing is cut off because of word count limits or space limitations. Every story gets exactly what it demands.

The Recollective: What kind of stories are you looking for in general and more specifically for upcoming weeks?

Brendan: In upcoming weeks we’ll be exploring New York’s subways, living arrangements, changing neighborhoods, and secret histories. We’ll also be debuting a new feature where our readers get to vote on what themes they’d like to see us explore.

The Recollective: Tell us about stories that are coming up on Narratively.

Brendan: I get really worked up about food, so this week’s theme is particularly exciting to me. We’re looking at food, but through lenses that aren’t normally explored. In addition the The Recollective’s audio piece, which looks at the restaurant world from the servers’ point of view, we’re pulling back the veil on how food stylists make dishes look so appetizing, talking about how Wall Street affects world hunger through food commodities trading, and taking a look at urban farming–but not in the hipster environs of Brooklyn, instead out in Staten Island.

The Recollective: How can people contribute?

Brendan: We want Narratively to be a dialogue where the readers are engaged at every stage. On that note, our Friday Park Bench feature explores questions and related topics that grow out of that week’s story and theme. Anyone who is inspired by our theme should send their thoughts–responses, personal essays-photos–to be published on the Park Bench.

Check out Narratively at


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