I began teaching the class in 1996, after arriving as a journalism professor from a career writing for The Washington Post Magazine. The concept of the class was embodied in my book, Intimate Journalism: The Art & Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, which I have used, along with other books and readings, as a staple in the class. The simple idea was to have students complete an in-depth human interest story utilizing the concepts and reporting and writing techniques commonly described as “literary journalism.”
This collection includes only a handful of the scores of published stories done in the class, but they give you an idea of what even beginners can accomplish when their eyes have been opened to the possibilities of journalistic storytelling beyond the news and gossip of the day. The intelligence and commitment of my students amazed me from the start and still does. Their boundless curiosity has kept me feeling young.