On Twitter, NYT reporter writes about his mother's suicide

On Twitter last Thursday evening, New York Times reporter Nate Taylor, as he sometimes likes to do, told a personal story. This one was about a secret he's kept from a lot of people:

"I’ve gotten emails. I’ve gotten looks today," Taylor said when we talked on the phone Friday afternoon. Surprisingly, he said, nobody online had said anything nasty after he shared his story. Someone asked if he'd prepared the story in tweet form. Nope: "This tweet -- boom! -- what's the next thing I want to say," Taylor said, remembering the process. "Don't stop till you've said everything you wanted to say."

Taylor, a member of the Times' sports staff who was part of its Student Journalism Institute, said one of the reasons he tells stories on Twitter is that so many younger journalists and journalism students are there (he is 26), and it's a way to talk straight to them.

I asked if he'd discussed the story with his father. "No, he's not on Twitter," he said, laughing. "My family's kind of all on Facebook, so maybe somebody back home had to have seen it."

In his Twitter tale, Taylor linked to a Times Magazine story by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro about meeting another person whose mother committed suicide. One of his doctors gave him the piece, he said, adding his story wouldn't exist without it. "Thank God for Jessica Lamb-Shapiro, thank God for my Dad, Thank God for the people at the New York Times for giving me a shot, and thank God for all the people on Twitter who read that," he said.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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