Research & Writing 1
This course offers tools and inspiration for probing journalism—covering reporting strategies, research methods, writing styles, and ethics. Students will develop a range of interview techniques, including question-and-answer pieces and narrative profiles. They will learn how to create a compelling narrative, how to use language vividly and precisely, and how to structure different writing formats. In the course of the semester they will research, report, write, and edit news stories, features, profiles, and reviews and have the opportunity to pitch stories to editors. Students will read illuminating work and distinguished writers will visit the class to discuss their strategies and experiences.
Typical guest lecturers and critics: Michael Kimmelman, Roberta Smith, Gay Talese, Lewis Lapham, Lawrence Weschler, David Hajdu, Sam Tanenhaus, John Seabrook, Deborah Solomon, Danielle Sacks, Eve Kahn.
Students can expect to learn how to initiate, develop, and pitch story ideas; how to research and report, use quotes, and attribute information; how to structure a story using a lede, nut graf, and kicker; and how to write a strong news story, an in-depth feature, a profile that brings a person to life, and an authoritative piece of criticism. Particular emphasis is put on interviewing techniques, which play an important part in gathering information for all kinds of stories. Interviewing also plays a central role in other courses in this MA such as the Radio and Podcast Workshop, the Lecture Series, and thesis research. Students will conduct several interviews, and produce finished written pieces including profiles, reviews, news articles, and short features.