Topics in Journalism: War Stories-Fact, Memory, & Imagination:Conflict Reporting & Literature of War|
Spring 2017 not offered
War stories occupy a unique place in public life. They reflect on a nation's character in ways that many other stories don't. They are also notoriously slippery, especially when told and retold back home. Yet even when we doubt them, war stories are endlessly rich in high-stakes human drama. From the Iliad and the Bible to the videotaped beheadings of ISIS hostages in Iraq, these tales and images grab our attention and don't let go. This course will have dual aims: to help students understand how journalists have historically covered conflict and how that work is done today; and to explore war stories, both fictional and journalistic, with special attention to style, technique, narrative coherence, reliability, and the relationship between facts and truth. Our conversations will be guided by an emphasis on the complex and shifting relationships between combatants, journalists, and other kinds of storytellers and the role of perspective in war reporting. Who is telling the story, and how does the narrator's experience influence what she sees and recounts? War correspondents have an important responsibility to hold governments and militaries accountable. Yet it's worth asking whether war stories can ever be truly "objective"--and even whether they should be. We'll look closely at the way contemporary journalists cover war, the practice of "embedding" reporters with military forces, and how the expansion of propaganda and "information warfare" have changed and complicated the work of war reporting. In an age of instant messaging and online news, battlefield correspondents find themselves grappling with spin at a dizzying pace. The avalanche of information and disinformation has coincided with an acute dearth of resources to support foreign reporting, particularly by traditional media outlets in the United States.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Books, excerpts or shorter pieces by Homer, Herodotus, John Hersey, Martha Gelhorn, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Michael Herr, Tim O'Brien, Neil Sheehan, Joan Didion, Tobias Wolff, Dexter Filkins, Elizabeth Rubin, Kevin Powers, Phil Klay, and others.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Several short written assignments including exercises in narrative writing and interviewing and a longer final project.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
To apply for a place in the course, write a brief statement of up to 250 words explaining why you are interested in the subject. Also submit a writing sample of 2-3 pages. Send this application to Professor Anne Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: WRCT 270 Journalism. Application due by November 7, 2014. Also submit a POI request. Please check your portfolio by November 14, 2014 to see whether you have been admitted. If you have, please add the course to your schedule immediately.
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