Writing Seminar: Exploring the New Journalism
T-Th 10:00 - 11:20 (D38)
"Gonzo journalism is a style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism -- and the best journalists have always known this. True gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor."
-- Hunter S. Thompson
In this course we will read and practice journalism, both traditional -- e.g., the essay as it appears in magazines like The New Yorker, or expository reporting as practiced in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal -- and the many variations on traditional journalism that have emerged since the 1960s: gonzo journalism, online writing, radio essays, etc. Our goal will be to read (and listen to and watch, in the case of radio and video essays) as much interesting and provocative journalistic writing as possible, by writers as various as H.L. Mencken, Jonathan Raban, Hunter S. Thompson, Seymour Hersch, Annie Proulx, Jon Krakauer, Terry Tempest Williams and others. Our goal, in the end, will not be so much to arrive at narrow definitions of journalistic style and practice as to expand our own writing to include a range of styles, voices and modes of presentation.
And, as this will be a writing seminar, we will also write a lot, about the journalism we have read, and in journalistic pieces of our own. Discussion of the course texts will alternate with writing conferences, workshops, and work on grammar, style and structure.