Official blog of Clark's Blogging for Journalists class, Mass Communication department

Thursday, September 17, 2015

On the future of journalism, by a master

 David Carr of the New York Times died earlier this year. Read this story:

Here's his Boston University  syllabus. 

Comment below, briefly.

1. Any advice resonate with you?
2. How is his syllabus different from what you're used to?


  1. 1. I think he some interesting advice and rules. The not raising your hand to talk. Just speak up but don't speak over anyone else. Also the if you text or email in class I'll ignore you like you have ignored me. That's funny and yet still a good idea on how to get your students attention.
    2. I've never had a syllabus that wasn't a piece a paper or a pdf. This one actually had pictures and was very interesting to read through.

  2. 1) I loved this article and one advice that resonated with me was the quote from his TA that said " “He didn’t want us to sound like everyone else." I feel like most classes have such a set itinerary that it doesn't give the students much expression to be different from one another. We're almost conditioned to sound the same.
    2) I'm used to having set instructions on my assignments and how I should be thinking. His syllabus gives the students free range which allows them to do their best at creativity and thinking outside the box. I think this method helps the students further their understanding.

  3. 1. I liked that instead of saying where he was born, went to school, his jobs, he made a list of things that students would enjoy to know and make them feel like they know him a little better. Things like he was a terrible dancer, a movie crier, friendly and odd.
    2. His syllabus was unlike any syllabus I have seen before. Most professors just type a long document that a lot of students probably don't read all the way through. His was engaging and kept me wanting to read until the very end.

  4. 1.) What really stood out to me is when he said that ending a story with a quote from someone else is the cowards way out. I have never really thought about it like that. I can really tell that he encouraged his students to be their own person and their own voice.

    2.) His syllabus was perfect. It wasn't just a piece of paper with a boring list of procedures and policies. He made everything interesting and was very blunt and straight to the point. He told his class exactly what he expected, but not in the usual boring way. I think students are going to be able to use his syllabus as a guide for everyday life situations and not just for the class.

  5. 1.) In his curriculum he said, "We will talk about the uses and abuses of a writer’s voice, how to express yourself in copy without using the ‘I’ word and why ending stories with a quote from someone else is often the coward’s way out." I liked this because I think so often we try to mimic others that have been successful even if it isn't really our style. From reading the article, it seems like he truly encourages students to focus their individual strengths and life experience to create in a way that is unique to them.

    2.) I liked his syllabus because he told it how it was. There was no nonsense. He stated what was expected and what the consequences would be for students who did not want to follow his instruction.

  6. 1. I had never thought of ending the story with a quote was the cowards way out. I need to go back through my articles and see if I ever did this, because I have honestly never thought about it that way.

    2. I liked his syllabus because he seemed to put actual thought into it. It wasn't a copy/pasted mess from years past that most syllabi are. It seemed like he genuinely cared about his students.

  7. 1.) I liked the idea of learning how to not sound like everyone else but rather to sound like yourself. It;s strange because we spend a lot of time in speech classes and in school trying to sound eloquent and articulate but we never stop to fin our own voices.
    2.) His syllabus is the best thing I've ever seen. The first day of classes professors show you a boring syllabus with boring grading scales. Don't get me wrong he has the important info too but he includes humor and visual elements that make it unique.

  8. 1. I liked how he had a class called "Voice Lessons" where he taught his students how to stop sounding like everyone else and start sounding like them. I think this is great advice because it is easy to fall into the trap of believing we have to be just like everyone else.
    2. Well, I normally have a hard time reading through syllabi from classes that I am enrolled in, and I easily just read through his whole syllabus without even realizing it! He added humor and honesty throughout the whole thing making it enjoyable to read.

  9. 1) He is very into who people are rather than resumes. It just cares about the writer and their voice being heard rather than them mimicking another reporter's style. I love that he draws from experience.
    2) The syllabus is amazing. It is straight forward and easy to comprehend. There is not a bunch of university policies that you have to read through either. It's clear on how the semester will go and what he expects from his students. It is also more personal.

  10. 1. In the article, his assistant said this about what he expected of his students' work: "Extended metaphors should be indulged and encouraged — the stranger, the better. And clichés were poison." I like that he encouraged his students to be strange and think outside the box. It's okay to be different from everyone else, even if you think it's weird, because different is better.
    2. Everything about his syllabus was different from what I'm used to. Not only was the layout different, incorporating pictures and a unique design, what the syllabus said was different too. Rather than just stating the course objectives, readings, grading, what is expected, etc., his syllabus felt personal.

  11. 1. I think what stood out the most in the article was when he said, "He is a big sucker for the hard worker and is rarely dazzled by brilliance." I have found it often in my class settings that students aim to dazzle their professors or show off. I've never been that kind of student who has been one to dazzle, but I've always been the most passionate and hardest worker. It's nice to hear that professors do appreciate students who work harder than others and strive to go above and beyond without being flashy.
    2. I have never seen a syllabus like this and I loved it! It was interactive, it was fun, exciting, well-written and gives the students an honest and direct expectation of the course. I enjoyed how personal the syllabus was. It made the professor appear more genuine about the success of the class verses your typical outlined, "I have to give you this" syllabus.

  12. 1. I really liked his view of learning how to not sound like everyone else but rather to sound like yourself. Because I feel like in today's world we are taught to be like everyone else and this is how it is supposed to be but I feel like you have to be you and I enjoyed his take on just sound like you, don't change yourself!

    2. Wow! His syllabus is one of a kind and so cool! His syllabus actually makes you want to look and read it. It was very interactive and fun. It's nice to see a professor put that much effort into that because it makes you realize that he cares and has a passion for his class and wants you to succeed. His syllabus is truly one of a kind and hopefully more professors will follow his lead.

  13. Wow! He sounds like he was an amazing man. Everything resonated with me. The entire reason I want to get into journalism is, not to sound like an uncreative bore, but to carry a message. I must say, I've had my disheartened moments, like when I took News Reporting and I was forced to write as dry as California is dry right now. The way journalism is inevitably changing makes it necessary for the industry to embrace innovation. Writing from a personal perspective, like Dr. Carr encourages, is innovative, and bias still doesn't need to be involved. If anything, it will make your reporting stand out from the screach of voices we have today. I'm all for creativity, and the syllabus was outstanding. It got the pertinant information conveyed and was amusing. This is exactly how I think news reporting should be.