Writers Head to Medill for Workshop

More than 50 writers and editors, including several from outside the AAN ranks, head to Evanston, Ill., this weekend for two days’ immersion in what makes alternative journalism rock.

Attendees are coming from both coasts (Monterey County Coast Weekly to The Boston Phoenix) and many places in between, including six locals from the Chicago Reader, to be at the 7th annual AAN/Medill Alternative Journalism Writing Workshop.

The inimitable David Carr of The New York Times will moderate the entire weekend’s program, held for the first time in the modern McCormick Tribune Center on Northwestern’s campus.

Walt Harrington, a master of narrative non- fiction and author of “Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life,” kicks the workshop off with a keynote talk on “Keeping the ‘Non’ in Non-Fiction Writing.” On Saturday, Harrington describes how in-depth journalism on ordinary people produces extraordinary insights in “Intimate Journalism: The Art & Craft of Reporting Everyday Life.”

Later Friday Patty Calhoun and David Holthouse of Westword discuss how to write without deleting the bleeps, parsing some of the latest work by Holthouse and others on the Westword staff.

Friday evening, the editors of RedEye and Red Streak, two new weekday tabloids published by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, respectively, hold an informal discussion over dinner at Merle’s. The discussion will include Mike Smith, managing director of Northwestern’s Media Management Center, as well as editors and publishers of several AAN papers in markets targeted for such daily innovations, including Jane Levine, publisher of the Chicago Reader, and Janet Reynolds, editor/publisher of the Hartford Advocate.

Carr moderates a three-hour Saturday morning program on ethical quagmires with panelists that include Harrington, as well as Medill faculty members Charles Whitaker, Patti Wolter, and Abe Peck, and AAN’s Michael Lenehan, executive editor of the Chicago Reader.

Saturday afternoon begins with concurrent sessions on arts reporting (with Frank De Blase of City Newspaper and Michael Tisserand, editor of Gambit Weekly) and document searching with Jim Ylisela, former editor of the Chicago Reporter.

Jim Mullin, editor of Miami New Times and Medill’s Peck close the workshop’s formal sessions with a dissection of Miami New Times’ award- winning series on poverty, “We’re No. 1.” Saturday evening the series will receive the John Bartlow Martin award for public interest magazine journalism during a conference dinner at the Davis Street Fish Market.

Space is still available for the workshop. Tuition is $175 for members and $225 for non-members, which includes dinner Friday night, breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday, and Sunday breakfast.

A PDF containing registration materials and the complete program schedule can be downloaded by clicking here . For more information contact Communications Director Lyda Phillips at editor@aan.org or (202) 822- 1955.