Opinion and Reporting
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Writing
Department: Writing Program
Course Number: NWRW 3858
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
The great task of non-fiction is to engage with the world outside us and uncover its meanings. In a time of change like the present, this task becomes vital to the health of a society. This workshop we focus on opinion and reporting. In opinion, the writer goes out into the public arena as a protagonist using his or her art as a weapon of seduction with which to pierce the mind, and sometimes the heart of the reader. In reportage, on the other hand, the writer is more like a lens through which the reader explores the world. Here transparency rather than dazzling performance is required. Yet literary reporting also seeks to examine the world on a level of complexity comparable to that of great fiction, and for this the self must be brought into play. In this workshop participants write short opinion and reportorial pieces and one long, in-depth piece in either genre. Close mentoring in the process of gathering and organizing material is provided. We also examine masterworks in both forms as well as some pieces of fiction that are relevant to our task. Authors include John McPhee, James Agee, Joseph Mitchell, Jonathan Schell, Ian Frazier and Joan Didion. We look at the best reporting from the Civil Rights era and Vietnam and the best pieces of current opinion writers such as Maureen Dowd and David Brooks
Course Open to: Degree Students
Open to Undergraduate students.