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Storyteller tells tales of writing at BGSU

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Rick Bragg

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BOWLING GREEN - Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg lives to tell stories.

In addition to being a former New York Times reporter, he has written two books related to his own family and has another on the way about former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch.

But he's keeping mum about one of his biggest stories: his resignation from the New York Times in May after the newspaper suspended him over a story that carried his byline but was reported largely by a nonstaff journalist.

Speaking with The Blade yesterday prior to a speech at Bowling Green State University, Mr. Bragg, 44, declined to speak about the incident or anything related to it.

Soon after his resignation, however, Mr. Bragg made statements to the media suggesting that it is not uncommon for reporters to rely on the work of stringers and interns.

The episode followed the larger scandal involving former Times reporter Jayson Blair, in whose work the newspaper found numerous inaccuracies and plagiarized material.

Mr. Bragg was in Bowling Green to speak on “The Writing Life” as the 2003 Currier Visiting Lecturer at the university.

“Writing is a craft I love to talk about,” he said. “I've always followed the `Show me, don't tell me' rule.”

Mr. Bragg grew up in Alabama, where he worked for newspapers before making his way to the Times. His upbringing had much to do with his style, he said.

“I grew up at the knees of the best front-porch storytellers on Earth,” he said.

He won a Pulitzer for feature writing in 1996. Both of his books, All Over but the Shoutin' and Ava's Man, take place in the South.

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