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Inside Stories

Human beings, not stereotypes
"One of the really cool things about being a reporter is you get to explode a lot of personal myths," says Mat Edelson, who writes about an innovative anti-violence program in this issue's "Street Smart Redefined." Interviewing ex-offenders who mediate conflicts between drug dealers and gang members, Edelson realized that small-time dealers, many driven into the business by poverty, actually make very little money. "I wanted to tell this story as humanely as possible, to show the mediators as human beings," says Edelson. "They're people who are still striving forward." Edelson, a Baltimore resident, is a former National Public Radio reporter whose work has appeared in George and Urbanite.

Creating a buzz
"One thing I crave more than anything else is positive collaboration with the art director that pushes the work and the ideas," says illustrator George Bates, who created this issue's cover art. He had originally made an open flower sprouting up from brambles and symbols of violence. Then art director Shaul Tsemach suggested Bates save the open flower for the inside story. Bates loved the results. "The inside flower essentially completes the story that begins on the cover and just has a nice visual buzz to it," he says. Bates' work has appeared in The New York Times, Business Week, and on Burton snowboards. — MB

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