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Magazine Writing

ENGL 128.301
Mondays 2-5:00pm

Magazines, a staple of mass media, play a big role in our nation’s conversation. From general-interest to niche and special-interest publications, the writing you find here draws on in-depth reporting, the use of voice and close attention to narrative structure. And the skills that make you good at this form can be useful in any career. Magazine writers play with the medium and with their 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. Nonfiction, built upon 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 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.

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