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Topics in Journalism: Journalism, Nonfiction Writing, and the Search for Truth

WRCT 269
Fall 2014
Section: 01  
Certificates: Writing

Journalism is a kind of nonfiction writing about the present, in the service of the public. Journalists seek to give an accurate depiction of the world around us--the hell of war, the horror of poverty and exploitation, the beauty of art and dance, the delight of travel. All too often, especially in today's world of wonks and publication at the speed of Twitter, journalism falls short of describing the world with accuracy--sometimes because of deliberate distortion, personal or political, sometimes because of a failure to do adequate research and sometimes because it isn't always easy to give a fair description of the truth. Truth can be a slippery thing--there can be many competing versions. Who is to say which version is right? The course will examine examples of journalism and other nonfiction writing that do an exemplary job capturing the world and reporting the "news." It will also examine and dissect articles where writers have fallen short. We will discuss methods, tools, and strategies for trying to depict the world truthfully--interviews, investigative reporting, document searches, pursuing conflicting voices and viewpoints. We will also explore personal memoirs and the tensions between being faithful to memory and being faithful to truth. In this course, we are likely to examine truth, fairness, and distortion when it comes to writing about economics and labor issues and abuses. This course will be taught by Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times, Wesleyan's Koeppel Journalism Fellow.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA WRCT
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on AUG-04-2021
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