Slate’s Dickerson Takes a Stab at Risk

Slate begins a 5-part “Fresca” series today by Chief Political Correspondent John Dickerson on risk (the theme, not the game).

Frescas are Slate’s contribution to long form journalism on the Web. They’re in-depth, special series pieces, which every Slate staffer is encouraged to take time off to write. The name “Fresca” evolved from Online Magazine Editor David Plotz’s favorite grapefruit-flavored soft drink, Fresca. And it appears to have bubbled up creativity. A different chapter of the scribe’s series runs each day this week through Friday.

Dickerson, who took a month off to complete his series, posted the following on his personal experience with risk when he left Time for Slate:

An excerpt:
In 2005, I left Time magazine, where I had worked for 15 years. I was their White House correspondent, a job that people instantly got excited about when they, say, met me at a wedding. In my job I traveled with the president and interviewed him and knew the most “important” people in the world. I left that high-profile work, and many friends, to join Slate. People thought I was nuts. A lot of them assumed I’d been fired. Suddenly I had to explain at weddings: Slate? Is that a construction magazine?

I took the leap because I needed to upend my world to find my truer voice as a writer. I wanted to experiment, to sometimes fail, and to learn in a place that thrived on that cycle. Maybe if things worked out I’d be able to find a project of the kind that had brought me to journalism in the first place almost 20 years ago: I’d get an idea, go find stories that explored it, and get to tell those stories to readers. I got lucky. This series is one of my rewards.

Dickerson’s first story involves two mountain climbers. He then tackles musicians, entrepreneurs and military personnel. He asks readers to submit their risky stories and submit them to He plans to collect readers’ ideas and write about them.

Find the series here.