In the 1960s, a genre called “New Journalism” exploded onto the reporting scene. No longer was “objectivity” the ultimate journalistic goal; this new sort of writing was chaotic, messy, colorful, in-depth, expensive to assign (ha), and brimming over with the voice of the writer. Its pioneers were writers like Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Gay Talese; today, its lovechild, “longform” journalism, is thriving on the internet via both old-school publications and websites like The Atavist Magazine, Longreads, and California Sunday. It’s characterized by length (say, 2,000-20,000 words) and by elements of creative writing like scenes, narrative arc, dialogue, and characters. And it’s super fun to write. But where does one start?
Over the eight weeks of this ONLINE course, we’ll read some of most energetic, crackling longform writing from the past 50 years, and try to figure out how the pieces work, both formally and emotionally. We will talk about the techniques of longform (do you just, like, interview someone for seven hours and hope a story comes out the other side?) and whether or not objectivity is overrated. Students will also work on their own longform projects, which can range from purely reported to reported-personal to personal-historical and everything in between. (Note that these will not be straightforward personal essays, though.) By the end of the class, you will have your own longform piece that will be workshopped in class and receive private feedback from the instructor. You will also have a better understanding of the current longform scene, including publications to pitch and practical tips for finding story material.
Fee: $495 for new students; $470 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)