TUESDAYS, JULY 18—AUGUST 22 | Interested in reportage, but can’t afford J-school? (Or don’t have the time?) Curious about how to make sure your creative projects bristle with factual material or an apt dose of history? Wonder how investigative reporters pry secrets out of protective subjects? Want to write and sell fact-based stories that are also artful?
This six-week summer course will introduce you to the basic elements at the core of the craft of journalism and will examine the role these elements play in exemplary work. We will explore a breadth of topics, but we will also give the inside goop on journalistic ethics, best practices, and tricks of the trade.
Each class session, led by an experienced journalist working in the field, will feature discussions, readings, and short exercises. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of your goals as a journalist, and how to deliver what editors want.
The class sessions will be broken down by topic:
July 18: BASICS OF REPORTING | HALE
We examine what are facts and what are not, as well as how sharp observation, background research, and savvy reporting each play a distinct role in developing stories.
Constance Hale has been a journalist in San Francisco for three decades, and she is the author of three books on language and literary style, including Sin and Syntax. Her profiles, essays, and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, Afar, and Honolulu, among others, and she has edited three dozen trade books. In 2016, she published The Natives Are Restless, on the evolution of hula, and ‘Iwalani‘s Tree, a poetic bedtime story for children.
July 25: THE ART OF INTERVIEWING | KANE
We will discuss the basics from the art of pitching to interview prep and techniques for how to connect with your subjects and get them to open up.
Yukari Iwatani Kane is a journalist/author. Her book, Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, was published by HarperCollins in 2014. She has 15 years of experience covering technology and was a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. She teaches at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and at San Quentin State Prison.
August 1: INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM | FRASER/REDMOND
Learn how to go beyond canned quotes, Internet searches, and press releases to dive deep into research, sources, and government reports to tell a compelling story and expose lies and wrongdoing.
Laura Fraser is a long-time Grotto member and New York Times-bestselling author whose essays have appeared in the New York Times’ Modern Love column, Marie Claire, O: the Oprah Magazine, and numerous other venues. Special guest Tim Redmond has 30 years of experience as a San Francisco investigative reporter and editor, mainly at the San Francisco Bay Guardian and more recently at the daily digital local newspaper, 48 Hills. Laura and Tim have known each other since they were both editors of the Wesleyan University Argus.
August 8: THE REPORTED ESSAY | OZMENT
Writers will learn to weave social science research, interviews with experts, and on-the-ground reporting into personal narratives to create layered pieces that editors crave and readers love.
Katherine Ozment is the author of Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age, named a Best Book of 2016 by Publishers’ Weekly and Spirituality & Health. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked in publishing for 25 years, including as a senior editor at National Geographic. Her essays and articles have been widely published in such venues as National Geographic, the New York Times, and Salon.com.
August 15: STRUCTURE AND SELF-EDITING | FRASER
Now that you have all the pieces to an article, how do you put them together? Laura will teach the basics of structure, from a catchy beginning to a thoughtful conclusion, with a logical and compelling sequence in between. Then she’ll show you how to put your editor’s hat on and revise, cut, and improve your piece.
Laura Fraser is a long-time Grotto member and New York Times-bestselling author whose essays have appeared in the New York Times’ Modern Love column, Marie Claire, O: the Oprah Magazine, and numerous other venues.
August 22: CRAFTING THE PERFECT PITCH | GROSS
We will study successful pitches to understand what makes a pitch great, and writers will learn to refine story angles, conceptualize a hook, identify target publications, and craft the perfect pitch using narrative techniques to draw the attention of editors.
Anisse Gross is an award-winning freelance writer and editor. She received her M.A. and M.F.A. from San Francisco State University, where she was honored with the Graduate Award for Distinguished Achievement. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, TheNewYorker.com, The Guardian, Quartz, The Believer, Lucky Peach, BuzzFeed, the San Francisco Chronicle, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, the Brooklyn Quarterly, Edible Hudson Valley, and elsewhere.
Number of sessions: 6
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Dates: Tuesdays, July 18, 25; August 1, 8, 15, 22
Course fee: $450