Barry Bearak's Article On The Tsunami in NYT Magazine Is A Masterpiece
Barry Bearak, formerly of the L.A. Times before the Tribune Co. disaster, authors the longest article in the history of the New York Times Magazine Sunday, on the tsunami that took 90,000 lives in the Sumatran city of Banda Aceh last December, and it is a masterpiece of disaster reporting.
Bearak spent two months in the city interviewing survivors of the seismic sea waves that inundated the city about 30 minutes after the magnitude 9.5 earthquake that struck off Sumatra. More than one third of the total death toll occurred in Banda Aceh.
Bearak, who also is a visiting professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, is able to depict the tragedy in stark terms simply by telling in detail of the experiences of less than a dozen survivors, many of whom lost children, husbands, wives and other relatives.
It was often a decision as to which way to run, a chance of rescue, the availability of rare treatment that saved lives, but others died by similar factors.
There is no hysterics in Bearak's article, covering many pages, but there is great pathos. It can be recommended unreservedly.