AAN/Medill Writing Workshop Scheduled

Alex Kotlowitz, Steve Albini, Four AAN Editors to Speak in Evanston Sept. 18-20.

The second annual AAN Alternative Journalism Writing Workshop will be held September 18-20 at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois.

The workshop is open to editors and reporters at all AAN member papers, as well as employees of non-AAN alternatives. Registration forms will be mailed the first week of August. The fee for AAN members is $150; for non-members it is $250. The fee covers all meals.

This year’s three-day event will be filled with writing courses, group discussions and break-outs. Most of the courses will be taught by AAN editors, including Riverfront Times ‘ Safir Ahmed (“Magazine-Style Writing for Investigative Journalists”); Westword’s Patty Calhoun (“Column Writing”); Nashville Scene’s Bruce Dobie (“So You Want to be an Aggressive Reporter?”); and LA Weekly’s Sue Horton (“Writing as Storytelling”).

According to Executive Director Richard Karpel, more AAN editors were invited to participate this year in response to the surveys that were returned after last year’s Medill event. “The attendees said they wanted more focus on matters pertaining directly to their everyday jobs,” says Karpel. “Who knows more about the challenges facing alternative journalists than AAN editors?”

The two Medill professors who were invited back this year are David Protess and Abe Peck. Protess, who was the highest-rated speaker at last year’s workshop, will address his specialty, “Investigative Reporting of Miscarriages of Justice.” Peck will lead a workshop on arts writing.

During several sessions, workshops will be scheduled concurrently, providing attendees with a choice between two different subjects.

Author Alex Kotlowitz (“There Are No Children Here”; “The Other Side of the River”) and producer/recording artist Steve Albini will also address the group. Kotlowitz will talk about the power of narrative, and striking the balance between entertainment and thoughtful journalism. Albini — who graduated from Medill in 1984 and served as a judge in the music reporting category of this year’s AAN editorial awards — will describe the qualities that characterize both good music journalism and bad, and will explain why it matters.

There will also be two separate, structured break-out sessions during the workshop.

AAN has reserved a block of rooms at the Omni Orrington Hotel, which is a short walk from the Medill campus and mass transit. The AAN rate is $109 per night. To reserve a room at the Orrington, call 800/843-6664 and mention the AAN meeting. The block of rooms will be held until August 28.