Feature writing, in its union of reportage and storytelling, is a particularly challenging form of written communication for both writer and reader. It is also a particularly rewarding one. The best stories immerse readers in places they may know little about and introduce them to people and social issues that they might never have encountered on their own. Students in this rigorous course will practice the reporting and writing of a feature article from beginning to end: researching topics by reading and talking with sources; using the resulting material to craft and refine original story ideas; constructing a reporting plan; interviewing sources and collecting observations while reporting; conceptualizing and writing a feature with close attention to structure, narrative, character, theme, and language; and going through the editorial process. That this course will be taught aboard the MV World Odyssey is not at all incidental. Working journalists often find that their access to stories is limited by geographical constraints. By contrast, journalists in this course will have access to places, people, and stories on four continents — a rare, rich opportunity. Students should be prepared to work on their journalism both while in port and at sea. The feature that each student pursues will be dictated by her own interests and expertise. Students will be expected to finish the course having written a sophisticated, magazine-length feature article that is fit for publication.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: October 12, 2018
Students will visit a newsroom in Cape Town and meet with a feature writer; they will also practice their interviewing and other skills while reporting on a Cape Town-based story that the class will together identify.
1. Become familiar with the day-to-day work of feature writers and their editors.
2. Practice reporting skills such as interviewing, note-taking, and real-time synthesis and analysis.
3. Explore the relationship between reporting and the final written product.