Senior editor Joe Nick Patoski provides readers with what you used to get at your local gas station: full service. Writing so-called service pieces—mini-guidebooks that offer readers do-it-yourself instructions and suggestions for trips and other leisure activities—has taken the 46-year-old resident of Wimberley all over Texas. Says Patoski: “I’ve climbed the state’s highest peak [‘Show Your Colors,’ October 1993], swum in the cleanest waters [‘Last One In … ,’ June 1985], and seen the goofiest things—the goofiest probably being the Famous Mexican Crow Park, otherwise known as the Brownsville city dump [‘Hidden Valley,’ October 1992].” For this month’s issue Patoski took a grueling desert-survival course in rugged West Texas (see “Sweating It Out,”). Although the other people in the course knew he was a reporter, he insisted on enduring all the hardships they did. “To write good service,” he says, “it’s important to be in the shoes of the reader. I bend over backward to keep in mind that someone will use my experience later.”
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