A writer goes deep dark down: interview with Hector Tobar, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and author of Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free.

Author:Jordan, Judi
Position:Interview
 
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In our increasingly oversimplified, multi-layered, hyper-competitive 'broad strokes' media, huge, emotional disaster news is subject to immediate distortion by superficial reports and public saturation quickly suffocates the truth.

In a media 'moment' when Tweets pass for some people's idea of news, fewer characters are not always better. Telling the story with heart, soul, eloquence and conscience pays respect both to the subject and the readers when the facets are shared in a truly profound way.

When an earthquake hits or a plane crashes, there is an immediate impact [no pun intended] and media 'closure.' That was the exact opposite of the tale of the 33 Chilean miners whose lives were forever changed the day the mine said 'enough' and closed her portals on the men who had come to pillage her core one time too many.

The potent cocktail of personal drama, gross negligence, politics, science, folklore and unshaken faith created a cliffhanger from every angle; the collapse of the San Jose Mine was a ticking bomb that never went off, a disaster with no victims.

A miracle by any definition, this evolved into a life-changing event for everyone involved.

The sheer volume of work demanded a writer who could stand the heat, and the heart, of the fable born. One who would not neglect to also tell the story of the valiant and durable women above ground who kicked and screamed, persisted, and resisted negativity, holding the dream alive.

As the 33 men underground formed an unbreakable cable of faith, below ground, it was their instinctive belief that sticking together would get them through. Hector Tobar 'got' this; his inner self recogni2ed that this book deserved a writer for whom this would be an honor--and a calling, not a job.

In Chile, where the mining industry holds a special place in the country's spirit, there was no bigger story to be told. A veritable circus gathered at the dusty mine site. The case of the 33 whose fate hung by a thread for 69 days, 2,100 feet underground, grew into a cluster of agendas personal, professional and political.

In an unusually collaborative situation, Tobar and the producers worked side by side to get the film and the book made as cohesively and timely as possible. If a writer is fortunate, there is that once-in-a-lifetime story that comes along; often the writer chases the story, in this case the story chased the writer.

The combined experience of Tobar's New York Times bestseller and the film, which opens...

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