Newswriting II: Point-of-View Journalism

Discipline: Media Studies
Instructor: Goff
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 10:50
End: 12:05
Field Work: Day 1 | Turkey Download Syllabus

This advanced newswriting course trains students to practice “point-of-view” journalism, and to understand it as a controversial but credible alternative to the dominant model of “objectivity” on the part of the news media. Now associated largely with blogging, point-of-view journalism has a history as long as the nation’s, from Tom Paine and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century to Ida Tarbell, the original “muckraker,” in the nineteenth, and “New Journalism” practitioners like Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson in the twentieth. Current point-of-view practitioners include news organizations on the right (Fox News) and left (MSNBC), as well as prominent bloggers like Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, or Egyptian feminist Eman Hashim “Violet Revolution” blog. We will also consider two types of new media outside the traditional definition of “journalism”: so-called “advocacy” or “development journalists” who write for community news media or non-profit organizations; and “comic journalism,” a category that includes graphic art as a medium for news as well as the work of entertainers such as Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, who pillory the news (and newsmakers) in order to interpret it. Over the course of the semester students will analyze the pros and cons of point-of-view journalism, and examine its role in both new and existing democracies: does opinionated newswriting nurture democracy, or, as many scholars and members of the press continue to argue, is “objective” journalism still the democratic ideal? We will explore these questions in every port country, using readings, media websites, and news broadcasts produced for television and the web. A key component of the course will be the practice of point-of-view journalism. Throughout the semester students will be assigned to write or design, and then revise news content that expresses their informed opinions. The best of these efforts will be selected for publication in a class blog.

Special Requirements:

Pre-requisite: basic newswriting course and/or experience working on college newspaper (or equivalent) or literary maga- or e-zine. This course is not suitable for students with no prior news media experience.

Field Work

Country: Turkey
Day: 1

The practice of Sufi whirling is indigenous to Turkey. On this field lab, the class will attend a performance of the Whirling Dervishes, an example of authentic Sufi dancing and a standard stop on a typical tourist visit to Istanbul. But students will view the performance, and the tour itself, from a critical distance, using reporting skills they have developed in class and insights gained from taking multiple tours in previous ports. How is the dance packaged and presented? How does this tour constitute or contribute to a "tourist" experience of Istanbul? What is "authenticity," anyway? Students will use the Sufi dance performance as the central example for a 750-word editorial on the topic of "Tourism," an editorial which will draw on the students' cumulative experience as a tourist on the Semester at Sea voyage. Following the Whirling Dervish Ceremony at the Hodjapasha Lodge, students will be able to ask questions of the performers about the ritual and physical actions. A short lecture will be provided by the wiseman or the master about the philosophy, symbolism, spiritual advancements, transformations, meanings, cosmology and instruments. Please note: Dress appropriately for this religious ceremony. Photo and video without flash is permitted.