Mar 03, 2024  

ENG 201 - Professional Writing

201A  Blog:  Telling the Untold Story

If you are uncurious about the lives of other people-relatives, friends, enemies, celebrities-then you are probably only semi-conscious as you drift through life. The craft of biography allows relentlessly curious authors to understand and explain the lives of others. Readers consume biographies by the millions every year. It is an art form worthy of study-enlightening and at its best simultaneously entertaining.

201B Narrative Journalism


Narrative journalism is the art of telling a true story, weaving research and facts into an engaging, page-turning piece of nonfiction that reads with energy, insight and depth. The task of the narrative journalist is to paint accurate and vivid portraits of people and subjects even the journalist, at the beginning of the writing, may know little about.   

Media is changing quickly with many new platforms for publishing narrative journalism; in fact, narrative journalism may be enjoying is most vibrant period ever. We will look at a diverse sampling of long narrative nonfiction pieces from some of the leading outlets today, including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Harper’s, and Vanity Fair. We’ll discuss how to achieve the ‘holy grail’ of the narrative journalist–writing a piece with ‘three-dimensionality’–as well as investigate how to balance primary and secondary sources, dialogue, interviews and hard facts with the demands of story-telling. Students will have free range to investigate whatever subjects interest them while building strong foundations as narrative journalists in this field of writing where publishers are actively looking for new writers and content.

We’ll not only explore non-fiction writing and publishing for today’s world, but also ethics, craft, the submissions process and the social importance of it all. The ability to write narrative journalism greatly diversifies a writer’s range and ability to answer the question, “How do I tell this true tale in a way that always brings the reader along?”

Prerequisites & Notes

(Not offered 2014-2015.)