My collaborations with Joe Eskenazi

Let it Bleed coverSome of the most fruitful long form journalism I’ve done has been in partnership with Joe.  We started out together as freelancers for the SF Weekly, and while he went on to become a staff writer and I went on to take a marketing job that actually paid my rent, the Weekly so valued our collaborations that they kept paying extra to have us work together on a periodic basis.  I was lead reporter on exactly half of our major collaborations, he was lead reporter on exactly the other half – and either way the results speak for themselves.

Our first big piece was “The Worst Run City Big City in the U.S.,” and you have no idea what a big deal that was at the time.  It was like the whole city breathed a sigh of relief because *someone* had finally said it.  Okay, not the Guardian – they argued against it to the point that they made it sound like inefficiency is a progressive value – but we were astonished by just how strong a positive response we got.

Our second was probably the least popular of our collaborations, but one of the ones we are most proud of:  “Let it Bleed,” an in-depth examination of the city’s pension fund crisis.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to describe a pension fund crisis in an entertaining way?  Go ahead, try it.

Well, we did it.  We had to invent a character named “Galaxor,” but we did it.

Our third effort, “The Forbidden City:  How the Happy Meal Ban Explains San Francisco,” is my least favorite.  At the time I felt it was unfocused and never really hit its mark.  But I have to say, reading it four years later, that it holds up really well. I suspect Joe gets most of the credit for that.

Finally, there’s “Progressively Worse.”  A story that was good at the time, and great in hindsight.  Joe and I have looked over that one and been astonished at how, just two years later, literally everything predicted in that article has come to pass.  Yeah, we’re damn proud of that.

Taken together, I think it’s a body of work anyone would be proud to call their own.