Longform, multi-platform journalism and narrative storytelling
Crafting human interest pieces for the long form, through in-depth reporting and narrative, has deepened my interest in, and love for, writing and journalism. I've had the chance to write character-driven features, multi-platform profiles and subcultures stories, as well as to use multimedia components to complement and enhance them.
In recent history, the free jazz world has experienced visible change, forcing musicians, fans and critics to grapple with questions about its uncertain future. Shifts in consumer listening habits, the recording industry, generational and cultural attitudes, performance opportunities and economic struggles are among the factors driving these changes. Chicago musicians maintain and add to its presence through their work, hoping to leave individual marks on the music and, the scene in a city instrumental in its growth. Others have left the scene, while younger artists break into it for the first time. They all face these developments, and respond to them differently.
If free jazz were to disappear, a valuable history would be lost. The city’s foundation holds the music’s origins. The process of creation distinguishes the genre. It has defined a subculture important on a global scale and locally distinctive. It finds resurgence in city staples like the annual Chicago Jazz Festival. It might be under the radar for some, but it means a lot to others.
Societal changes occur continually, but how this subculture will evolve remains uncertain, and poses the question: Can it be saved?
Steffi Masur left Berlin when she was 11 years old, years before Nazi-occupied Europe became a matter of life-or-death for Jews. This is her story of survival and memory, as well as the backlash and residual impact following her experiences.