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Magazine Journalism

ENGL 128.301
M 2-5:00

A new creative writing workshop devoted to writing for print and online magazines. We will delve into what it takes to report for outlets such as The New YorkerThe Atlantic, or The New York Times Magazine; we will explore how time works in longform reporting and the specific demands magazines place on storytelling; we will design and practice pitching stories to editors; and we will produce our own 2,500-3,000-word magazine pieces. Open to all students. No prerequisites. Taught by Avery Rome, veteran editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Magazine Journalism plays with the element of time. The stories are longer in general than those in a newspaper and tend to be reported over weeks rather than days. More interesting, with the storytelling that a prolonged lead time makes possible, time can be woven into the very way the story is built.
You can play with the medium and with your readers, using tone, point of view, dialogue, suspense, the timely revelation of truths, rich characterization, vivid scenes -- anything that brings the reader the texture and tangibility of what happened.
The form – nonfiction, built with facts and accuracy -- does have its own rules. Doing it well depends on seeing the big picture and the telling detail. Every week we will read, discuss and write different types of magazine stories, drawing on general-interest publications such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine and their websites.
We’ll explore the techniques that make a good story, from the selection of topic to the reporting required. We’ll talk to some brilliant journalists, and practice pitches to editors so we have a sense of how to enter the field.
We’ll create the plan for a magazine, a mission statement, audience projection, table of contents, and sample stories – a “short” for the front, an essay for the end, and a 2,500-3,000-word cover story. Immerse yourself in a creative and surprisingly durable medium that has both depth and impact.