JOUR GA 1231 003GilesFA2012 by HC120917114352

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									JOUR-GA 1231.003
The Pop Culture Beat

Wednesdays, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Room 653
Instructor: Jeff Giles (jeff_giles@ew.com)

In this course, you’ll develop your voice and your reportorial
skills, enhance your understanding of the way magazines and
websites operate, and prepare for a career in an industry that
has changed even since I began writing this paragraph.

TEXTS YOU WILL NEED:

“The New New Journalism,” by Robert Boynton

 “The New York Times Reader: Arts & Culture,”
     edited by Don McCleese

CLASS STRUCTURE:

About half of the classes will include guest speakers, who will
talk both about their careers and whatever topic we’re covering
that week. Guest segments will never last more than an hour.

Every class will include a 20-minute or brainstorm about recent
entertainment news, which will be led by a different student each
week. Students should keep on top of what’s happening and be
ready to talk about stories they’d follow up (and how) if they
were on staff somewhere. Some sites I’d suggest are:
Deadline.com, ew.com, thehollywoodreporter.com, vulture.com,
mtv.com, thedailyswarm.com, and gawker.com. You may use others as
well/instead.

Most classes will also include a discussion of the readings and a
workshop.

Class participation is essential. I know students will have
different levels of comfort with that, so I’ll take that into
account but I’ve seen how much active participation in a meeting
or brainstorming session can help a career so I will encourage
you all to speak up.

GRADING:

Grades will be based on the quality of the work, class
participation and meeting deadlines. You will fail this course
immediately if you are caught plagiarizing, inventing sources, or
doctoring quotes.

In keeping with the Journalism Institute policy, assignments will
be graded as follows:

    A:   Outstanding work, publishable as is.
    B:   Good work, in need of minor revision.
    C:   Needs significant revision.
    D:   Major problems with facts, reporting and writing.
    F:   Issues with plagiarism, libel.

Please bring copies of the reading to class, since we will be
going over the stories line-by-line. Please arrive on time. If
you need to miss a class, email me in advance. If you miss two
classes, your final grade will be lowered. (If the circumstances
are extenuating such as a major illness with a doctor’s note, we
can discuss a make-up assignment.) If you miss three classes, you
fail automatically.

ASSSIGNMENTS:

Stories are due by 5pm on Mondays, unless otherwise specified.
Stories should be emailed to jeff_giles@ew.com with the subject
line NYU. Write a headline for your piece, put your name on the
top of the first page, and number every page.

Deadlines matter. If stories are late or the copy has errors,
your grades will suffer. You will be graded for research,
reporting and writing, as well as spelling and grammar.

Fact-checking: On the last page of every assignment, list the
names and phone or email contact information for your sources and
cite the articles or books quoted (date published, writer,
headline.) Avoid citing Wikipedia.

Word lengths for stories are minimums; an extra 200 words on the
longer pieces, say, is okay but do not go longer.

Interviews should be conducted in person or by phone. Email
interviews are a last resort. Do not write about friends or
family members, to avoid conflicts.

DUE DATES:
Wednesday, Sept. 5: For first class, bring in a piece of
entertainment writing you love. Read the Susan Orlean, Gore
Vidal, and Calvin Trillin q/a’s in “The New New Journalism”
Monday, Sept. 10: 300-word review of an entertainment website.
Monday, September 17: First draft of a 750-word q/a with someone
in the arts world talking about a timely topic.
Monday, Sept. 24: Q/A’s revisions: new drafts of the same piece
at 400 words and 200 words. Start an entertainment blog, and
begin posting at least once a week.
Monday, Oct. 1: A 400-word trend piece. Please do a minimum of 3
interviews. Plus, three pitches for a 1,000-word profile.
Monday, Oct. 8: Begin reporting for your profile. Please do your
central interview plus a minimum of 2 secondary interviews.
Monday, Oct. 15: First draft of profile.
Monday, Oct. 22: Final draft of profile.
Monday, Oct. 29: 200-word review of something you actively hate,
in which you nonetheless explain what might account for its
appeal to others. 200-word review of something you actively love.
Monday, November 5: Two pitches for your final project, a 3,000-
word reported feature. Plan to do a minimum of 6 interviews.
Monday, November 12: 250-word progress report on final project.
Monday, Nov. 26: Continued work on final feature.
Monday, Dec. 3: First draft of final feature. Plus, a list of a
half dozen publications or sites you’d like to pitch—and what
sorts of things you’d like to write for them.
Monday, Dec. 10: Cover letter to prospective employers.
Completed blog.

CLASS SCHEDULE:

Week 1: September 5. Introduction

ASSIGNMENT FOR FIRST CLASS: Please bring in some bit of arts
writing or blogging that speaks to you. It can be old or new. It
can be long or it can be as short as a single paragraph. Also,
please read the Susan Orlean, Gay Talese and Calvin Trillin q/a’s
in “The New New Journalism”

We’ll introduce ourselves, and talk about what kind of arts &
entertainment writing inspires by reading the fragments you’ve
brought and discussing them.

Next we’ll do an entertainment news brainstorm.

Then I’ll give you a questionnaire so I can get a sense of who
you are, what kind of movies, music, TV, books, and media you
like, and how you’d describe your personal goals for the course.

In preparation for the following class, we’ll also talk briefly
about the rapport between interviewers and their subjects—which
is never more crucial than during a Q/A. What kind of people make
for great Q/A subjects, and what kind make for nightmares?

Reading for the following class:
TBA by Dave Karger
Madonna in Elle
Brad Pitt in Entertainment Weekly

Assignment due Monday, Sept. 10:
300-word review of an entertainment website. What’s its audience
and angle? Is its design any good? How well does it fulfill its
function and how does it rank against its competitors?


Week 2: September 12th. How to Get to Them, How to Treat Them, How
to Survive Them.

Guest Hour: Amanda Lundberg and Dave Karger

Amanda is a partner at one of the most powerful publicity firms
in movies, 42 West. She currently represents Tom Cruise. Amanda
was previously the head of publicity for Miramax, where she
oversaw PR and Oscar campaigns for Steven Soderbergh, Martin
Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, among others. Dave is an
Entertainment Weekly senior writer, a regular fixture on TV, and
one of the most respected Oscar prognosticators around.

News brainstorm.

Then we’ll discuss your website reviews, and spend the remainder
of the class talking about how to prepare for interviews; we’ll
also deconstruct the q/a’s you’ve read for class, and go over
some of the rules and tricks of the trade.

Reading for the following class:
The Time Inc. guide to journalistic ethics.
Basic web research on the falls from grace of Stephen Glass,
Jayson Blair, Jonathan Lehrer and Fareed Zakaria
Readings in “The New New Journalism”
Chris Heath on Michelle Williams and Madonna
Chuck Klosterman on Britney Spears, Val Kilmer and “Appetite for
Replication”
Assignment due Monday, September 17
First draft of a 750-word q/a with someone in the arts world
talking about a timely topic. It should include a headline,
subhead and intro text.


Week 3: Sept. 19th. Ethics, Integrity and Other Endangered Species

Guest Hour: Guest Hour: Chris Heath and Chuck Klosterman

Chris writes for GQ. For my money, he is the best profile writer
around—and he’s certainly the most opinionated about what rules
govern the relationship between the writer and subject. Chris has
written long memorable profiles of a hundred stars, some of whom
loved the intensity of the experience and some (like Brad Pitt,
Julia Roberts and Madonna) definitely did not. Chuck has written
about music and pop culture for numerous magazines and sites, as
well has having authored several bestselling books, including
Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. He’s currently a columnist for
Grantland.com.

News brainstorm
Discussion of readings.
Q/a workshop: We’ll go over one student’s piece together, and
then you’ll split into groups and discuss each other’s work.

Reading for the Following Class:
Dolly Parton and Rosie O’Donnell stories by Jancee Dunn
Zooey Deschanel by Melissa Maertz
“Celeb Death Rumors” by Jennifer Armstrong
“For Teenagers, Hello Means ‘How About a Hug?’” by Sarah Kershaw
“How to Write a Trend Piece” on ihatenyt.com
From “The NYT Reader”:
“How Inner Torment Feeds the Creative Spirit” by Samuel Freedman
“Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?” by Motoko Rich
“The Rap Against Rockism” by Selefa Kennah

Assignment due Monday, Sept. 24:
Q/A’s revisions: new drafts of the same piece at 400 words and
200 words. Start an entertainment blog, and begin posting at
least once a week.


Week 4: September 26. Trend pieces.
Guest hour: Jancee Dunn and Melissa Maertz

Jancee has written extensively about music, movies and TV for
Rolling Stone, In Style, and many other magazines. She’s the
author of three comic books about growing up big-haired in New
Jersey, and she recently ghostwrote Cyndi Lauper’s memoir.
Melissa has written and edited for Rolling Stone, New York, the
Los Angeles, the New York Times, Wired and elsewhere. She’s an
award-winning music journalist and currently covers both music
and TV at Entertainment Weekly.

News brainstorm, discussion of readings.

Reading for the Following Class:
David Helfgott by David Gates and Yahlin Chang
Courtney Love by Lynn Hirschberg
Peter Bart by Amy Wallace
George Meyer by David Owen

Assignment due Monday, Oct. 1
A 400-word trend piece.
Three pitches for a 1,000-word profile.


Week 5: Oct. 3. Profiles, Part 1: Great Subjects, Great Writing

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, workshop on trend piece,
discussion of profile pitches.

Reading for the Following Class:
“The Worst Celebrity Profile Ever Written” by Ron Rosenbaum
Jon Hamm by Tom Chiarella
Angelina Jolie by Tom Junod
Chris Evans by Edith Zimmerman
George Clooney by Joel Stein

Assignment due Monday, Oct. 8.
Begin reporting and interviewing for your profile.


Week 6: Oct. 10. Profiles, Part 2: Desperation

Guest Hour: Devin Gordon

Devin is a senior editor at GQ and a former Newsweek arts writer.
He’ll talk about why interviews sometimes go terribly— and what
lengths writers have gone to in an effort to publish something,
anything.

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, workshop.

Reading for the Following Class:
Sampling of Michael Slezak’s American Idol blog on TVline.com
Sampling of Kristen Baldwin’s Bachelor recaps on EW.com
Sampling of Jennifer Armstrong’s blogging on Sexyfeminist.com
“How Not to Start Your Own Website” by Jennifer Armstrong
“Piecemeal Existence” by Ben Adler
Excerpts of “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr
Excerpts of “The Cult of Amateurs” by Andrew Keen

Assignment due Monday, Oct. 15.
First draft of profile.


Week 7: Oct. 17. How Websites Work

Guest Hour: Michael Slezak, Jennifer Armstrong and Kristen
Baldwin

Mike’s a funny, shrewd, beloved American Idol blogger at TVLine.
He’s built a devoted following over the years with video segments
as well as blogs. Jennifer is a freelance writer, the founder of
sexyfeminist.com, and the author of two books about TV. Kristen
is an executive editor at Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, as
well as a popular reality-show recap-er.

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, workshop.

Reading for the Following Class:
Nora Ephron on the set of “Catch-22”
David Foster Wallace on the set of “Dark Highway”
Julie Salamon on the set of “Bonfire of the Vanities”
John Jeremiah Sullivan at the Christian rock festival
Reporting Guide by Jeff Gordinier

Assignment due Monday, Oct. 22
Final draft of 1,000 word profile.


Week 8: Oct. 24. Reporting

News brainstorm, discussion of readings and workshop.
Reading for the Following Class:
“What’s Wrong with Movies” by Mark Harris
Excerpt from “Pictures at a Revolution” by Mark Harris
Jonathan Franzen cover of Time
TBA by Radhika Jones

Assignments due Monday, Oct. 29
200-word review of something you actively hate, in which you
nonetheless explain what might account for its appeal to others.
200-word review of something you actively love.


Week 9: Oct. 31. The Editor, The Writer: The Love, The Hate

Guest Hour: Radhika Jones and Mark Harris

Radhika is Time magazine’s executive editor, and a former deputy
managing editor of the Paris Review. Mark is a distinguished
freelance writer (New York, Grantland.com, Time, Entertainment
Weekly) and author (the bestselling movie history Pictures at a
Revolution.)

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, workshop.

Reading for the following class:
Marlon Brando by Truman Capote
Warren Beatty by Bill Zehme
Tangerine Dream concert review by Lester Bangs
“Sex and the City 2” review by Lindy West

Assignment due Monday, November 5.
Two pitches for your final project, a 3,000-word reported
feature.


Week 11: Nov. 7. The Writer’s Voice

News brainstorm, discussion of readings and pitches.

Reading for Next Class:
Excerpt from “Different” by Youngme Moon

Assignment due Monday, November 12
250-word progress report on final project.
Week 11: Nov 14. How Magazines Work

Guest Hour: Patty Alvarez, Deputy Design Director, Money
Magazine; Paul Moakley, Photo Editor, Time; Lou Vogel, Executive
Editor, Entertainment Weekly.

News brainstorm, discussion of readings and workshop.

Reading for the following class:
“Confessions of a Book Reviewer” bu George Orwell
Ulysses review by Martin Amis
Lady Gaga review by Nitsuh Abebe
“Breaking Dawn” review by Manhola Dargis
“The Amazing Spider-Man” review by Anthony Lane
“Dances with Wolves” review by Pauline Kael
“Addicted to Cute” by Jim Windolf
From “NYT Reader”:
“Dreamgirls” review by Frank Rich
The James Frey Scandal by Mitchiko Kakutani

Assignment due Monday, Nov. 27:
Continued work on final feature.


Nov. 21: NO CLASS


Week 12: Nov. 28. Reviews and Think Pieces

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, workshop.

Readings for the following class:
Close readings of several publications or sites you’re most
interested in working for.

Assignments due Monday, Dec. 3:
First draft of final feature. Plus, a list of a half dozen
publications or sites you’d like to pitch—and what sorts of
things, generally speaking, you’d like to write for them.


Week 13: Dec 5. Career Counseling

Guest Hour: Tina Jordan
Tina oversees the hiring of interns for Entertainment Weekly, as
well as being the senior editor in charge of books coverage.

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, workshop.

Assignments due Monday, Dec. 11:
Cover letter to prospective employers.
Completed blog.


Week 14: Dec. 12. Final class

News brainstorm, discussion of readings, sharing of final
features.

								
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