This is a how-to course for talented aspiring writers, drawn from the instructor's three decades of experience as a full-time working journalist. Learn how to write well in the real world, how to hook the reader and sustain interest, how to mix scenes with exposition, and how to develop the journalistic skills that enable a writer to gather, sift, and report information.
While reading assignments include famous practitioners of nonfiction writing—including Susan Orlean and Gene Weingarten, along with recent Penn alumni Matt Flegenheimer and David Murrell—the emphasis is on writing and reporting nonfiction pieces from personal memoirs to observational features and profiles of interesting people. The course is designed to inspire you to tap into your potential, gain fresh insights, and feel comfortable enough to share written assignments—both short and long pieces—with classmates over the span of the semester. The course also addresses practical and ethical journalistic issues such as selecting and handling interviewees, how to use (and not use) the internet, and when to use (or not use) anonymous sources.
*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.
- Povich Writer-in-Residence at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW)
Dick Polman is the Povich Writer-in-Residence at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW) and a full-time member of the CPCW faculty, as well as a political columnist for WHYY. He’s a regular guest analyst on Philadelphia NPR’s Radio Times, a frequent host and moderator of author events at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and a freelance writer for outlets including Politico, Smithsonian, and the Knight Foundation. Previously, as a twenty-two-year staff… Read more