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Introduction to Journalistic Writing

ENGL 157.301
instructor(s):
Tuesdays 1:30-4:30 pm
fulfills requirements:
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Creative Writing Seminar Requirement of the Creative Writing Track

Journalism has been called the first rough draft of history, because it attempts to answer a basic everyday question, What's happening? Dealing with facts, the journalist tells us stories about our world -- the actions of government and politicians, crime, law enforcement and courts, as well as the way we live, the texture of communities, science, health, business, entertainment and sports, cooking, leisure. Pretty much anything that is true is fair game, if it's new or a new take on the old. Even the definition of "new" is mutable. In essence, journalism grabs reality and holds it intact, saying “I was there and this is what it was like.” This introductory course will explore the techniques that make a good story, from the selection of topic, to the kind of reporting required, to the ways to recreate the vitality, importance and even humor of what you’ve seen. Expect to write a lot and learn to see writing as a process that rewards nimble thinking and trying again. The class loosely divides into a study of a story's basic elements – fact gathering, ledes, structure, kickers, interviewing, quotes, description – an analysis of the different journalistic forms and a series of assignments designed to use those tools and stretch the way you “see.”