2016 - Fall
Varieties of the First Person
Course Number: JOUR-GA 1182.004
Day & Time: Monday, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Instructor: Ted Conover
Not so long ago, the only permissible use of “I” in journalism was inside quotation marks – quoting somebody else. The first person was anathema; “I” had no place in news outside the work of columnists.
But today the first person is important to attracting readers to much journalism and other nonfiction writing. Often the relationship of the writer to the material, the story-behind-the-story, is not only interesting but crucial. By the same token, the first person can get in the way. The author’s presence, or attitude, can come between reader and writing, rather than bringing them together.
This course will involve reading and writing exercises designed to help us find our voice—our first person. There will be a modest amount of reporting, sometimes as a group. But mostly we’ll experiment with ways to say things—including, most importantly, how to sound like ourselves.