Explore a landmark moment, experience or influence that informs who you are or aspire to be.

Key dates

  • Monday, Aug. 31: Launch + be familiar with reading list
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2: Individual story conferences (Sign up)
  • Monday, Sept. 7: Labor Day, no class
  • Wednesday Sept. 9: Peer-review day; draft shared via Google Drive
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16: Final version turned in, in both written and podcast format

Reading list

For each style of feature I will ask you to complete I will provide some examples that we can discuss in class to help jog your creative muscles and that you can refer to for inspiration while you work on yours. Please read, listen or watch at least three of them — some by the pros, some by the students — before we launch each segment.

The assignment

A poorly done essay is a trite waste of time. When done well, however, this style of writing can be among the most resonant and transcendent types of professional work, and be devoured by audiences accordingly. Two common elements of this style of writing when done well: Great storytelling rooted in universal themes and transformational moments.

You will

  • Write a minimum 750-word (digital) or 3-minute package (broadcast) piece that
  • Explores a landmark moment, experience or influence that informs who you are today or aspire to be in the future…
  • Is unflinching in its critical self-evaluation…
  • And is relatable to a clearly defined audience.

You will not

  • Write a journal entry that lacks appeal to a broad audience
  • Write an autobiography (these bore even your parents)

Rubric (250 points total)

  • Topic | 45 percent
    • Clearly informs who the writer is or aspires to become
    • Explored in significant depth
    • Has a universal theme or transformational moment, making it relatable to a broad audience
  • Writing | 45 percent
    • Meets the word-count or script-length minimum
    • Uses clear, conversational language
    • Unflinching in critical self-evaluation
    • Does not resort to journal-like style or autobiographical tendencies
  • Formats |10 percent
    • Turn in both a written version and a podcast version
  • Deductions
    • Fact errors: -50 percent
    • Spelling: -10 points
    • Grammar, punctuation, AP style: -1 point each

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