Day(s): M, 11am-4:50pm
Course ID: JOUR-GA 1021.010
Instructor(s): Sarah Saffian
Syllabus: Download PDF
This one-semester course, a keystone of the Literary Reportage program, develops students as rigorous, curious observers of the world, arming them with the tools to become resourceful reporters and literary journalistic writers of precision, originality, and flair. Specifically, we’ll focus on 360 Degree Reporting: doing background/orbit research on a subject, coming up with varied and informative secondary subjects, covering the subject’s environment—and pay particular attention to the art of the interview. We’ll determine how to find a good story and tell it engagingly (addressing those crucial “what’s the point?” and “who cares?” questions), train in gathering information doggedly and thoughtfully, examine journalistic ethics, and generally learn the nuts and bolts of the profile form—all in an effort to most vividly and authentically bring our subjects to life on the page.
The general structure of the six-hour weekly class will be roughly half the time in the classroom—for lectures, discussions, guest speakers, in-class exercises, workshops—and half in the field reporting on assignment (sometimes solo, sometimes together) and visiting Alexa Pearce at Bobst for research instruction. Most weeks, we’ll return to the classroom to discuss our reporting experiences and often to begin crafting from the information we’ve gathered, on the spot. The emphasis here is on the questions—which ones to ask, and in what way—as much as the answers.