Famed Inquirer Journalist to Teach Advanced Journalistic Writing
I'm very pleased to announce that a new course, "Advanced Journalistic Writing," is being co-sponsored by the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (of the School of Arts & Sciences) and the Annenberg School for Communication. The course is being taught by Dick Polman, Chief National Political Correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has covered the last three presidential elections, among many other major assignments. (A profile of Polman is below.) The course will also feature visits by a eminent journalists, who will meet with the workshop students and then offer public seminars and talks at the Kelly Writers House. If you look at the in-progress spring Creative Writing roster: http://writing.upenn.edu/cw/courses06a.html you will see a number of non-fiction writing courses that emphasize feature writing and journalistic writing. As you know, Paul Hendrickson has long taught such courses in Creative Writing, along with Bob Strauss, and once again this spring, Michael Vitez (also of the Inquirer)--among others. Al Filreis Kelly Professor of English Faculty Director, the Kelly Writers House Director, the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing www.writing.upenn.edu ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Advanced Journalistic Writing Spring 2005 DICK POLMAN English 158 (National Political Correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer) Mondays 2-5 PM (CPCW [3808 Walnut] Room 111) This is a how-to course for talented aspiring writers -- how to write well in the real world; how to hook the reader and sustain interest; how to develop the journalistic skills that enable a writer to gather, sift and report information. The instructor will share his own real-world experience, as a full-time working journalist for the past three decades. He will be joined on occasion by noteworthy guests- including several star journalists from the New York Times- who will address the class and appear at mandatory forums to be held at the Kelly Writers House. Even though students will read and critique some famous practitioners of non-fiction writing-among them, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Truman Capote and Richard Ben Cramer-along with contemporary newspaper storytellers that include the instructor (a national correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer), the emphasis will be on the students' own writing. The goal is to inspire students to tap their own potential, gain fresh insights, and feel comfortable enough to share their assigned work-both short and long pieces-with others in the class over the span of the semester. Students will write all kinds of non-fiction pieces, from personal memoirs to long-form features about anything from the Philadelphia scene to campus issues and events. The topics are less important than the craftsmanship; anything can be a great read if it's written and reported well. Journalistic issues, both practical and ethical, will also be addressed-among them: how to decide who to interview, and how to handle an interviewee; how to use (and not use) the Internet; when to use (or not use) anonymous sources. Spaces in this special course are strictly limited. Students will be admitted to the workshop on the basis of an application: students should submit several writings, along with a thoughtful message explaining their interest (and any relevant background or experience) by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This course is a collaboration of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and the Annenberg School for Communication. For more about the course, see http://writing.upenn.edu/cw/courses06a.html ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- PROFILE OF DICK POLMAN Dick Polman has covered the last three presidential elections as national political reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, but that's only his most recent stint in journalism. In his 16 years at the Inquirer, he has also been, among other things, a foreign correspondent based in London; a baseball writer covering the Philadelphia Phillies; a general-assignment feature writer in the feature section; and a longtime contributor to the newspaper's Sunday magazine - writing long pieces about everything from Nazi war criminals to the comeback of the condom. In the early '80s, he wrote three columns a week for the Hartford Courant, and, at age 24 in 1975, he was the founding editor of an alternative newspaper, the Hartford Advocate that stressed long feature articles and commentary. The Advocate, which still publishes, serves the same function as the City Paper does in Philadelphia. Dick attended George Washington University, where he served as managing editor of the college newspaper and graduated with a BA in Public Affairs in 1973. He returned to school, in a sense, two years ago when he won a fellowship and spent a semester auditing courses at Penn - including two in the English department. But it's not all work. Dick loves jazz, baseball, tennis, novels, movies, and his family. He has a son in college, and a daughter in high school. His wife, Elise Vider, is director of communications for Center City District, the agency charged with promoting and enforcing a clean and safe Center City Philadelphia.