Unnecessary Expenses are Raising University Tuition Prices

Author: Greg Winter
Article: Jacuzzi U.? A Battle of Perks to Lure Students
Publisher: The New York Times, October 5, 2013

Greg Winter (see Fig. 1) is an American journalist who is an editor on the Foreign Desk of The New York Times. He received his master’s in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000 and followed with internship experience at CBS Marketwatch, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In this article, Winter intertwines quotes from ten individuals with factual evidence from various universities.

Greg Winter SO3380

Fig. 1: Greg Winter, from Brooklyn, New York is an American journalist who is an editor of The New York Times.

Winter implements his article with an abundance of quotes by starting off a paragraph with a short portion of the quote, then interrupting it to introduce the speaker, and then proceeding with the rest of the quote. This is typically a common “no-no” in journalistic writing; however, Winter uses it as a technique of suspense. He does this when he writes: “ ‘An arms race,’ said Clare Cotton, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts. ‘It’s exactly the psychology of an arms race. From the outside it seems totally crazy, but from the inside it feels necessary and compelling” (1).

Winter’s descriptions throughout his article are vague and not very literary. He does not employ any sounds or smells about the atmosphere of University of Houston (see Fig. 2), but relies merely on visual observations. He writes: “Beyond its immense rotunda stands a five-story climbing walls that looks as if it was transported straight from Arches National Park, while boulders and palm trees frame the leisure pools outside” (1).


Fig. 2: This is an image of one of the many amenities that the University of Houston has built in order to draw in students.

In contrast to Winter’s lack of scene, we read another article in class today by Annys Shin, “A Job Brings Holiday Hope—And Uncertainty” which details one woman, Cristina Ford’s, employment at a Walmart in Washington D.C. in order to illustrate the larger national issue of unemployment and low wages. In this piece, Shin sets the scene by using descriptive details and images to actually show the reader what Ford does on a daily basis. She writes: “Without turning around, she sensed that a man behind her with a case of beer was having trouble entering his driver’s license identification number. Ford swooped in to do it for him. Across the aisle, a woman was staring down the neck of a shirt as if it was a black hole, unable to find the tag. Ford stepped up behind her and fished it out” (1). This type of description is a stylistic aspect that is very detailed and metaphorical. Winter lacks this stylistic aspect in his article which we analyzed.

A pivotal moment in Winter’s article is when he writes: “Whether evident in student unions, recreational centers or residence halls (please, do not call them dorms) the competition for students is yielding amenities once unimaginable on college campuses, spurring a national debate over the difference between educational necessity and excess” (1). This paragraph displays irony in the comment which is in parenthesis and it also illustrates a national trend. It allows the observations at the University of Houston to be applied to the entire nation.

The introduction of this article is followed by the research of many other universities along with statistics that connect to the scene Winter has set up at the University of Houston. For example, he writes: “Ohio State University is spending $140 million to build what it’s peers enviously refer to as the Taj Mahal, a 657,000-square-foot complex featuring kayaks and canoes, indoor batting cages. . .” (1). This comparative technique is important to use in our own literary articles because we must learn how to effectively implement statistics, examples and quotes from various sources.

Unlike many other journalists’ work that we have read which embody an abundance of dialogue, there is no dialogue in Winter’s article. There are, however, quotes that break up the facts and narrative structure. In class we discussed that the quotes should be interspersed throughout the article to adhere to an organized and interesting article. Winter does this very well on the second page of his article when he intersperses quotes from Representative Howard P. McKeon, Deniel M. Fogel, Mitchel D. Livingston, Kathleen E. Hatc, Liza Greifinger and Linda A Acciardo (2).

Winter ends his piece with a solid quote, which is a very common technique used in literary journalism. He uses an important quote from a university spokeswoman, Linda A. Acciardo who says: “People don’t give to institutions that look like they need money. They give to institutions they are proud to be associated with” (2).

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No Island is a Radio Show?

Radio Host: Jack Hitt
Radio: This American Life from WBEZ
Show: No. 253: The Middle of Nowhere
Aired: December 5, 2003

For class today we listened to the audio of Act One: No Island is an Island, a show aired on This American Life in 2003 (see fig. 1). We also were able to read along with the transcript as we listened. The show discussed the island of Nauru, which is located in the Pacific Ocean and is 1,200 miles from any other land. A lot has happened with Nauru, including illegal offshore banking, unwanted immigrants being dumped on its shores, and the United States striking a deal to set up a spy embassy in China, otherwise known as Operation Weasel.

Figure 1: This American Life is a radio talk show hosted by Ira Glass.

Figure 1: This American Life is a radio talk show hosted by Ira Glass.

While Nauru is quite the story, we want to look at how that story is told. This is the first thing that we’ve examined in class that hasn’t been strictly text; because it was a radio show, we compared some of the methods used in radio versus text in terms of style, transitions, introductions, and other things.

For starters, the show incorporates many different speakers into its program. While articles and books can incorporate quotations and dialogue, the radio show can actually include another person talking. We listen to the actual dialogue between two people. Jack Hitt is the constant host throughout the first act, but he talks with Jonathon Winer, Carl McDaniel, Andrew Bartlett, and Cameron Stewart.

Figure 2: Jack Hitt is a regular on This American Life, and the main speaker in the story "The Middle of Nowhere"

Figure 2: Jack Hitt is a regular on This American Life, and the main speaker in the story “The Middle of Nowhere”

Hitt introduces each of the speakers either right before or after their first talking points. Hitt names them, offers their credentials, and incorporates them into the flow of discussion by pointing out what they have to add to the story. For example, after Carl McDaniel gives the listener a fact, Hitt says, “This is Carl McDaniel, an ecologist with the Rensselaer Polytechnic. He says Denson worked for a company that was in the phosphate business in Sydney” (3).

Hitt works with his speakers to tell the story. He builds off of their quotes and continues to tell the story with them, going back and forth to supply various details. For example, after Cameron Stewart explains his discovery of a bunch of papers and documents, Hitt explains what the paperwork was: “The paperwork, including emails, personal correspondence, and memos on state department stationery, detailed a quid pro quo between Washington and Nauru. Washington offered to return Nauru to paradise with fisheries, health clinics, schools, desalination plants, the works” (7).

There is also some question-and-answer action between Hitt and the speaker. This is exemplified between Hitt and Jonathon Winer, when Hitt asks: “Have you ever been there?” and “When you say the word Nauru, what image do you see in your mind?” (2). (see fig. 3) Winer then answers his questions, and the story goes from there.

Figure 3: This is a satellite image of the island of Nauru, located in the Pacific Ocean.

Figure 3: This is a satellite image of the island of Nauru, located in the Pacific Ocean.

Another aspect unique to radio, and quite impossible with writing, is the use of music. Throughout the act, the listener can hear different sections of music and beats in the background. These sounds, sometimes sinister, other times representing the pacific beach theme, are used to transition between points. Hitt might use a brief interruption of a song in order to give the listener a chance to absorb their thoughts before turning to the next section of the story. For example, after Hitt describes his stay in Nauru, there is a musical intermission before Carl McDaniel begins discussing the science and minerals of the island (3).

The radio show also incorporates sound bites and recorded clips. At one point, the listener hears a clip from a news anchor giving a report. In another spot, we hear a brief clip of the play Leonardo, A Portrait of Love, which is referenced in the story. These sounds offer a unique feature that an article would not be able to.

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Capote: Ethical or not?

Author: Truman Capote
Title: In Cold Blood, Chapter 1
Publisher: The New Yorker,  Sept. 25, 1965.

In Tuesday’s class, we read and discussed the first chapter of In Cold Blood, written by Truman Capote (See fig. 1). Capote was a New York writer who wrote the first true crime novel about the Clutter family from Holcomb, Kansas who were brutally murdered by two killers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. Capote wrote this account of the murders and the subsequent trials of the murderers and their later executions.

One aspect that our class discussed was the structure of In Cold Blood. Because it is written as a crime novel, it becomes more literary than straight journalism. By establishing the characters of each family member in the first chapter, the reader becomes invested in the people they read about.  For example, we are introduced to Nancy Clutter who is introduced as a wonderful young woman who helps neighborhood children in baking and playing music. The people of Holcomb described her as a girl who “was an enigma the community pondered and solved by saying, “She’s got character. Gets it from her old man’” (18). By giving details and endearing qualities, Capote gets the reader to like the character they are reading about.


Fig. 2: Truman Capote was an American writer must well known for his piece, “In Cold Blood” that was classified as the first true crime novel.

One stylistic element that our class discussed and agreed upon, was that in comparing Capote’s piece with that of Hersey, we decided that they were effective but in the different ways that both authors portray the characters. Hersey uses sentiment and a composite character in “Joe is Home Now” while in his piece “Hiroshima”, he uses 6 different but parallel characters to piece together different accounts. By showing these parallels, he ties them together by the one moment of the bomb dropping but they never actually meet as the entire piece revolves around the bomb dropping.

Capote starts with the big moment- the murders of the Clutter family and then switches to the criminals before finally arrive back to the victims by the end of the book. This first chapter built on the characterization of the Clutter family and their murderers but he also tells the reader from the very start that something terrible happened in Holcomb, KS. He starts “At the time not a soul in sleeping Holcomb heard them–four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives. But afterward the townspeople, theretofore sufficiently unfearful of each other to seldom trouble to lock their doors, found fantasy re-creating them over and again–those somber explosions that stimulated fires of mistrust in the glare of which many old neighbors viewed each other strangely and as strangers” (5). By telling readers beforehand, he gets rid of any foreshadowing and builds his story around the climatic moment.


Fig. 2: Four members of the Clutter family were murdered in Holcomb, Kansas and are the characters that Truman Capote wrote his novel, “In Cold Blood” about.

The final aspect of this piece that we discussed was the ethics Capote used to write this story. He investigated these people who died, with the help of his childhood friend Harper Lee, by getting to know them through other people. We discussed how one pivotal scene is between Mr. Clutter and his daughter Nancy and both died before Capote could ever have interviewed them so Capote made up large portions of this. Also the dialogue between Nancy and her friend Susan have a conversation with such brief and short sentences that people don’t normally talk in. This brought the questions of how did Capote interview? How did he take notes? We don’t really know the answer to these questions but one thing we agreed upon was that Capote was using their story for his own fame, especially as a movie was made out of his novel. In the film especially, we watched how Capote had hired lawyers for both the guys who murdered the Clutter family because he needs to keep them alive in order to interview him.

In conclusion, although we enjoyed Capote’s In Cold Blood for its style of writing and his detailed descriptions of characters but we found some issues with the ethics that Capote used to write this piece. Although he wrote a wonderful piece, the way in which he wrote it begs the question of how ethical a writer must be when writing for the general public.

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Taking on the Role of a Waitress to Make a Scarce Nickel and Dime

Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
Book: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Publisher: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2001

After reading Barbara Ehrenreich‘s Introduction “Getting Ready” and Chapter One: “Serving in Florida” of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (see Fig.1) , my classmates and I reached a general consensus that Barbara Ehrenreich’s journalistic style is much more reflective and comparative than the style Jack London employs in The People of the Abyss. Both of these literary pieces are comparable due to each journalists’ level of investigative journalism in poor conditions which were much different than their cultural and societal norms.


Fig. 1: “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” was written from Barbara Ehrenreich’s perspective as an undercover journalist to investigate the lifestyle of the working poor.

The aspect of Ehrenreich’s style that makes it so captivating is her setup of personal ethical boundaries, honesty, knowledge, and juxtaposition between her lifestyle versus that of the working poor. In an attempt to investigate the impact of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act on the working poor in the United States, Ehrenreich (see Fig. 2) began this investigative project in Key West in 1998.

The first aspect of Ehrenreich’s literary style that we pointed out in class was that she thoroughly sets limits for herself before she engages in her undercover journey. For example, she states that she would always have her car (5), had no intention of going hungry (6), and would not sleep in a car (6). If any of these were in question, she would cheat.


Fig. 2: Barbara Ehrenreich is an American feminist, democratic socialist and political activist.



In essence, Ehrenreich’s knowledge and honesty that she would truly be an outsider setting out on this journey allowed her to pre-screen her audience in understanding her objective before reading. She does this when she says in her introduction: “With all the real-life assets I’ve built up in middle age – bank account, IRA, health insurance, multi-room home – waiting indulgently in the background, there was no way I was going to ‘experience poverty’ or find out how it ‘really feels’ to be a long-term low-wage worker. My aim here was much more straightforward and objective – just to see whether I could match income to expenses, as the truly poor attempt to do every day” (6).

One of the most captivating aspects of Ehrenreich’s writing style is her ability to reflect on her preconceived notions going into this project versus what she learned afterwards. She believed that her better education, dress, marital status and vocabulary would differentiate her from the working poor, however, she concluded at the end of her project that she was deceiving herself.  For example, when she “came out” to a few coworkers the result was “stunningly anticlimactic” (9). She realized that she had become the role of the waitress and that is exactly how her coworkers viewed her: “People knew me as a waitress, a cleaning person. . . not because I acted like one but because that’s what I was, at least for the time I was with them” (9).

Another strong element of Ehrenreich’s style is her use of juxtaposition and comparison as a powerful tool. This is evident in the scene with Carlie, the cleaning lady. As they are cleaning on their hands and knees, removing the pubic hairs from the bathtubs and stripping and remaking beds, they are watching TV shows that display elements of the surreal world. For example Ehrenreich writes: “In 511, Helen offers Amanda $10,000 to stop seeing Eric, promoting Carlie to emerge from the bathroom to study Amanda’s troubled face, ‘You take it, girl,’ she advises. ‘I would for sure'” (43). Through this scene, Ehrenreich employs juxtaposition of the surreal, idolized world displayed in this TV show with the real situation in which Carlie is scrambling for pennies as a cleaning lady. This is a very powerful technique used in Ehrenreich’s critical-cultural approach to her project.

Throughout the semester we have looked at how journalists characterize individuals in various ways; most evidently through dialogue. However, in Ehrenreich’s style we learn little about her co-workers and customers due to the reason that she never knows when they will come or go during this experience. When she does describe her customers or coworkers, it is interesting to note that she refers to them on a first name basis where as when she discusses her managers, they remain unnamed, faceless characters who are more powerful than the working poor. For example, she writes: “There is Benny, for example, a short, tight-muscled sewer repairman who cannot even think of eating until he has absorbed a half hour of air-conditioning and ice water” (19). This short, detailed description can be contrasted with her description of the powerful management under which she works: “If I have kept this subject to the margins so far it is because I still flinch to think that I spent all those weeks under the surveillance of men whose job it was to monitor my behavior or signs of sloth, theft, drug abuse, or worse” (22).

From an ethical standpoint, Ehrenreich realizes that she has fully taken on the role as a member of the working poor despite what she may think. Her new level of “power” emerges from her ability to choose the number of croutons that can go on a salad (even though her managers demand that it be six) along with the number of butter pieces that customers receive. In this realization of her newfound level of power she employs a metaphor: “Sometimes I play with the fantasy that I am a princess who, in penance for some tiny transgression, has undertaken to feed each of her subjects by hand. But the non-princesses working with me are just as indulgent, even when this means flouting management rules” (19).

This book allows us to learn as much about Ehrenreich as we do about the working class people which makes it so interesting to read.  Ehrenreich comes out of this experience having realized that all low-wage workers are not simply living off of the generosity of others but instead, we live off of their generosity. For example, Gail pays $40 to $60 a day at the Days Inn instead of living by a month’s rent at an apartment (27). She is overpaying and providing hotel owners with business at the expense of her own lifestyle. She cannot put up the two months’ rent to secure an apartment, so instead she ends up paying for a hotel room by the week. Another example of this ethical and moral disadvantage upon which companies such as fast food restaurants thrive off of is evident when Ehrenreich writes: “If you have only a room, with a hot plate at best, you can’t save by cooking up huge lentil stews that can be frozen for the week ahead. You eat fast food. . .” (27).

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When Acid and Literary Journalism Mix, you get a Wolfe of a Project

Author: Thomas Wolfe
Book: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Publisher: Collins Publisher, 1967

For class today we read and discussed the first part of the nonfiction book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, written by Thomas Wolfe (see fig. 1). Wolfe was a well-known American novelist, though this particular piece of work is often labeled under New Journalism with its unconventional techniques. In this account, Wolfe describes the experiences of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, who flourished in the 1960’s in their use and promotion of LSD and other psychedelic drugs.

Figure 1: Thomas Wolfe, an American novelist and journalist born in 1900.

Figure 1: Thomas Wolfe, an American novelist and journalist born in 1900.

Wolfe traveled with the Merry Pranksters and joined them in their experiences in order to gain material for his book. For this reason, he received a great deal of criticism for spending too much time in his story. It raises the ethical question: how active of a part is a journalist allowed to play in the story he is writing about? How much is he allowed to participate and influence his subjects before it  no longer becomes a completely accurate depiction?

According to our teacher, Wolfe claimed once that his time with Kesey and the Merry Pranksters was the most fun he had in his entire life. Wolfe even describes the change the people have on him: “I am beginning to feel stolid. Back in New York City, Black Maria, I tell you, I am even known as something of a dude. But somehow a blue silk blazer  and a big tie with clowns on it and…a…pair of shiny lowcut black shoes don’t set them all to doing the Varsity Rag in the head world in San Francisco” (3).

Clearly he was not just quietly observing and taking notes, but engaging himself in the culture surrounding the drug-worshiping group (see fig. 2). While his book does offer a very detailed and descriptive account, one must question how much of the story is his story versus an account of his subjects.

Figure 2: A photo of the Merry Pranksters and their creatively painted bus, which they rode across the country as they promoted the use of acids.

Figure 2: A photo of the Merry Pranksters and their creatively painted bus, which they rode across the country as they promoted the use of psychedelic drugs.

Wolfe had a very unique style when writing this book. He uses language to express the sporadic nature that surrounded the Pranksters as they tripped on LSD and other acids. His sentences jump back and forth between different ideas and don’t follow any consistent structure, representing the scattered thoughts a person might have while tripping. An example of this is: “The hierarchy ascends from there, although practically all lowcut shoes are unhip, from there on up to the boots the heads like, light, fanciful boots, English boots of the mod variety, if that is all they can get, but better something like hand-tooled Mexican boots with Caliente Dude Triple A toes on them” (3).

Figure 2: Ken Kesey was an American author and counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the generation of the 1950's and hippies of the 1960's.

Figure 3: Ken Kesey was an American author and counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the generation of the 1950’s and hippies of the 1960’s.

Another element that Wolfe incorporates in his text is the use of dashes and ellipses. He frequently employs these two features in his writing, which add to the scattered and sporadic nature of his language. Sometimes, he uses these to shift abruptly between two sentences without even finishing a thought. This is evident when he writes, “And, oh yeah, there’s a long-barreled Colt .45 revolver in her hand, only nobody on the street can tell it’s a cap pistol as she pegs away, kheeew, kheew, at the erupting marshmallow faces like Debra Paget in…in… -Kesey’s coming out of jail!” (2). (see fig. 3)

He used this punctuation to control the pace and timing of a scene, and to represent the fact that people thought and talked in elliptical patterns, according to Marc Weingarten in The Gang That Wouldn’t Write Straight. He also uses a nonlinear fashion in order to recreate the atmosphere.

Wolfe uses a fair amount of dialogue in the book, though in keeping with his style, it is haphazardly placed with the other descriptions. He also uses very few attributions or tags on the quotes that he offers, leaving the reader to figure it out for themselves or not worry about who specifically said a line. Sometimes he does incorporate a longer conversation, as exemplified with the back-and-forth discussion between Mountain Girl and Lois Jennings about her crying baby (15).

Another unique feature that Wolfe employs is the way he addresses specific people in the actual writing itself. The very first sentence of the book is a statement directed at a figure in the book: “That’s good thinking there, Cool Breeze” (1). He makes similar direct statements to Cool Breeze repeatedly throughout the first chapter.

Wolfe also repeatedly writes in the present tense, although it is not entirely consistent throughout. In one paragraph he shifts from past tense, “The elevator opened” to present tense, “Then I pick out Kesey” (7). This shift just adds to all of the other features that Wolfe employs in his style to offer a very “electric kool-aid acid test” experience for the reader.

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Hersey Writes from the Human View Point on Bombs and War

Author: John Hersey
Article: “Joe is Back Now”
Publisher: Life Magazine, July 3, 1944
Article: “Hiroshima”
Publisher: The New Yorker, August 31, 1946

John Hersey was an American journalist who wrote for The New Yorker and was considered one of the earliest practitioners of “New Journalism” (See Fig. 1). New Journalism adapts the storytelling techniques of fiction to non-fiction reporting. In our class discussion, we focused on how Hersey’s writing style changes from when he wrote, “Joe is Back Now” in 1944 to when he wrote  “Hiroshima” in 1946.  We discussed how Hersey uses emotion in his writing as well as the use of dialogue and imagery he uses to set the scene in each of these pieces.


Fig. 1: John Hersey was born in 1914 and was an American writer and journalist who wrote for both The New Yorker and Life magazine.

One difference we talked about was the way in which Hersey collected information for these pieces. Hersey first wrote “Joe is Back Now” as a compilation of 43 soldiers’ stories after the Second World War. Hersey uses Joe’s missing arm as an example of loss in the war as not all 43 soldiers had the same injuries.  Although he is trying to be as truthful and accurate as possible, by compiling 43 different stories, Joe is not a fictional character.

Hersey uses a lot of dialogue in “Joe is Back Now” but the dialogue he uses is very cut and dry with little emotion or description to make the story less boring. All attributions are in the form of “Joe said” of “he said.” For example, at the start of this piece, Joe takes with a middle-aged man who also served in the first war and is now an FBI man.  The dialogue between the two is very straightforward but boring to read as it lacks any true human emotion.

The end of this piece is inconclusive which showcases the uncertainty that men experience when the come home from war. Prior to this moment, we do not see any real emotion from Joe. We talked about how this can be very similar to the current problem of PTSD after the Iraq War. At the end of this piece, Joe now has a bakery business and is engaged but still feels like he is a wreck. Mary then says “’You can’t do it overnight, Joe, you can’t do everything all at once. It takes a little time to get happy’” (80).

Hersey traveled to Japan in May of 1946 and spent 3 weeks interviewing survivors for his piece “Hiroshima” (See Fig. 2). He interviewed six survivors: a German Jesuit priest, a widowed seamstress, 2 doctors, a minister and a young factory worker. By interviewing and getting first hand accounts about Hiroshima, he is able to set the scene in a different way than he did in “Joe is Back Now”.


Fig 2. The Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and devastated the city and it’s population.


The survivors are able to re count more details and description that Hersey is then able to convey in his piece. For example, when describing the scene just after the bomb drops, one survivor recounts seeing soldiers that “were coming out of the hole, where they should have been safe, and blood was running from their heads, chests and backs. They were silent and dazed. Under what seemed to be a local dust cloud, the say grew darker and darker” (16).

In writing “Hiroshima”, Hersey uses much less dialogue than that in “Joe is Back Now” but what little dialogue he does use is very powerful. For example, one of the six survivors travels to Tokyo for treatment from a doctor who assures him to not worry that he will be okay in two weeks. But he then says to the mother superior in the hall “’ He’ll die. All these bomb people die—you’ll see. They go along for a few weeks and then they die.” (46). This simple exchange captures the emotion and intensity of the situation at hand.

Overall, Hersey brings strong elements such as dialogue, description and imagery to each of these pieces and individually, we thought each piece could have used more dialogue or more description but when read together, we could appreciate John Hersey’s style of writing.

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Slept her way into “The New Yorker”, but can’t sleep her way into our hearts

Author: Lillian Ross
Article: “Come in, Lassie”
Publisher: The New Yorker, February 21, 1948
Article: “No. 1512: Throw the Little Old Lady Down the Stairs”
Publisher: The New Yorker, May 24, 1952

Lillian Ross is an American journalist who has been a writer at The New Yorker since 1945 and engaged in a relationship with her editor, William Shawn (see Fig.1). In our class discussion of Ross’s journalism we emphasized her lack of scene description, abundance of unnecessary dialogue and details that do not advance the plot, and the ethical dilemma surrounding her plot.


Figure 1: This is a photo of Lillian Ross with her lover, William Shawn, editor of “The New Yorker”.

The ethical dilemma of Ross’s writing involves the fact that she has access to the people that she interviews and implements in her writing from a friendship standpoint. In “Come in, Lassie” she is trying to tell a socially critical story and address the paranoia in 1948 about the people being banned and blacklisted. Thus, she makes the title of this piece, “Come in, Lassie” because Lassie is the only safe character in Hollywood who cannot be accused of being a communist. Where as the first piece introducing the character, Lassie is a political censorship, Ross’s account is an economic censorship.

Along with the fact that she cultivates friendships with the people in her pieces, Ross also writes about herself being a part of the her stories, instead of remaining as a unbiased observer. This type of journalism cannot really be considered investigative, as she is simply referencing scenes and quotations that she personally was a part of. One example of this is in “Come in, Lassie,” in which she writes, “At Wald’s suggestion, I had lunch one day with several members of the ‘Key Largo‘ cast, its director, John Huston, and a publicity representative at Lakeside Golf Club, a favorite buffet-style eating place of stars on the nearby Warner Lot” (38)(see Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Warner Bros is an American producer of film, television, and music entertainment founded in 1923 and headquarters in California.

Figure 2: Warner Bros is an American producer of film, television, and music entertainment founded in 1923 and headquarters in California.

Ross uses italicized words to clearly specify her goals in her article, “Come in, Lassie”. For example, she writes: “At some parties, the bracketed guests break up into sub-groups, each eying the others with rather friendly suspicion and discussing who was or was not a guest at the White House when Roosevelt was President – one of the few criteria people in the film industry have set up for judging whether a person is or is not a Communist – and how to avoid becoming a Communist” (32). Another example is in a quote from a representative of the Motion Picture Association of America who said: “Hollywood is pinching its pennies, buckling down. . . Hollywood is worrying about the box office” (34). This quotation is pertinent to the story as it clearly connects to her goal of showing the changes in Hollywood and rising competition.

Ross tends to overflow the body of her article, “No. 1512: Throw the Little Old Lady Down the Stairs” with quotations and descriptions that do not advance the plot. She fails to filter out information characterizing her four characters that is unnecessary. For example, her details of John Huston‘s actions can be cut down as they do not connect to showing the changes in the industry, rather they create a wordy, overly-detailed style: “Huston sat down on the arm of a chair, fixed a long brown cigarette in one corner of his mouth, took a kitchen match from his trouser pocket and scraped the head of the match into flame with his thumbnail” (32). She indiscriminately covers everything that she observes without filtering out the necessary details to communicate to the reader.

Figure 3: Lassie, played by a dog named Pal, starred in seven MGM films through the 1940's and 50's.

Figure 3: Lassie, played by a dog named Pal, starred in seven MGM films through the 1940’s and 50’s.

Ross also overflows her articles with a multitude of references to productions and figures in Hollywood. In just the first column of the article, “Come in, Lassie,”  Ross manages to reference: the Committee on un-American Activities, Chairman J. Parnell Thomas, “the ten writers,” “the world’s largest drugstore,” the price of a good-looking clock, the income brackets of party guests, a Selznick man named Merve, the producer Sam Wood, and the picture Ivy and its cost and gross (32).

The amount of information might appeal to some, but we found it to be overwhelming and unnecessary. We would’ve settled for just Lassie (see Fig. 3).

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If anyone can toot their own HORN, Martha GellHORN can!

Author: Martha Gellhorn
Article: Men Without Medals ( 1938)
Publisher: Collier’s The National Weekly, Vol. 101, No. 3
Article: Night Life in the Sky (1945) 
Publisher: Collier’s The National Weekly, Vol. 115, No. 11

Martha Gellhorn (see fig. 1) was an American novelist and journalist who was considered by the London Daily Telegraph to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. She reported on nearly every significant world conflict that occurred during her 60- year career. She was also the third wife of novelist, Ernest Hemingway.


Fig. 1 Martha Gellhorn was one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century

Last class we purposefully read Martha Gellhorn’s Men Without Medals and Ernest Hemingway’s Hemingway Reports Spain back-to-back because they are two accounts of the same experience. Hemingway reports on specific events during the Spanish Civil War through a style that is wordy, lacks dialogue and embodies a long sentence structure. In contrast, Gellhorn uses dialogue, vivid scene description, suspense, and a fairly consistent style to advance her story. All of these attribute to our preference of Gellhorn’s account of the Spanish Civil War over Hemingway’s.

The first element of Gellhorn’s writing that captivated us was her ability to paint a scene and attempt to take her audience to the trenches in Spain through her vivid imagery and detailed descriptions. At the beginning of her article, she does this when she sets the scene of Belchite (see fig.2): “Once it had been a town, circled by a wall, standing like a gray rock on a gray hill. Around it were the stony highlands of Aragon, with the orange-colored dust blowing. Belchite had caved in under artillery fire and aerial bombardment” (9).


Fig. 2 This is a photo of Belchite that is bombarded and surrounded by the highlands of Aragon


Fig. 3 Robert Merriman joined the Republican forces in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and commanded the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades

Unlike Hemingway, Gellhorn uses dialogue to advance her story. Both she and Hemingway interviewed Robert Merriman (see fig. 3), a former California University professor and Chief of Staff of the Fifteenth Brigade. Not only does Gellhorn provide detailed paraphrasing of Merriman’s explanations but she implements dialogue: “‘The boys did well,’ Merriman said” (10). Another example is evident in the next paragraph when Merriman says: “This is a fine brigade we’ve got here. . . ” (10).

A technique evident in Gellhorn’s writing of which we failed to see in earlier forms of literary journalism is the element of suspense. Gellhorn uses this with her title Men Without Medals. She does not reveal the meaning of this title until the third to last paragraph. She says: “In this war, there are no rewards you could name. There are no Congressional medals, no Distinguished Service Crosses, no bonuses for soldiers’ families, no newspaper glory. And what you get paid, every day, would buy a soft drink and a pack of cigarettes in America, but no more” (49).

Moving on to her article Night Life in the Sky, which was published seven years later in 1945, Gellhorn takes more of a personal approach. During an intense time period, approximately one month before the end of WWII, she wrote this article of a Collier’s girl flying over Germany.

The most evident structural element she embodies is the contrast between description and dialogue. This is immediately noticeable from the first scene: “In the daytime the field was ugly as all forward airfields are, with the improvised buildings of the Ninth Air Force squadrons and a tent hospital outlining its edges” (1). After describing the scene of the squadron headquarters Gellhorn counteracts the descriptions with great dialogue from the commanding major: “‘Lady,’ he said earnestly, ‘everyone shoots at us. Friendly bombers and friendly flak and enemy flak and enemy fighters. . .'” (1). Following this is again, the pattern of description followed by dialogue that Gellhorn embodies throughout this entire article. This is an effective way to keep her readers’ attention by contrasting these two elements successfully.

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Oh the shame– Lincoln Steffens writes of Political Reform

Author: Lincoln Steffens Title: The Shame of the Cities: Introduction Publisher: McClure, Phillips & Co., Vol. MCMIV 1904 Author: Lincoln Steffens Title: “Tweed Days in St. Louis” Publisher: McClure’s Magazine, Vol XIX, No. 6, 1902.

In Tuesday’s class, we discussed both two articles written by Lincoln Steffens (see Fig. 1) who was a New York reporter who wrote a collection of articles for McClure’s Magazine that were later published in the book The Shame of the Cities. In class we read both the introduction of The Shame of the Cities and an article from McClure’s Magazine, “Tweed Days in St. Louis”. Steffens is an example of a Muckraker and joins such authors as Ida Tarbell, whose work we read in an earlier class.

Fig. 1: Lincoln Steffens was a New York Reporter who lived from 1866-1936. He wrote a series of articles for McClure’s Magazine that later were published in the book The Shame of the Cities.

Fig. 1: Lincoln Steffens was a New York Reporter who lived from 1866-1936. He wrote a series of articles for McClure’s Magazine that later were published in the book The Shame of the Cities.

Steffens focused on critiquing and exposing political corruption in American cities and in doing so, analyzes different characters. Steffens used one city at a time to portray a different type of corruption. He focused on one kind of corruption that represents the entire category of the political trend. “Thus as St. Louis exemplified boodle; Minneapolis, police graft; Pittsburg, a political and industrial machine; and Philadelphia, general civic corruption; so Chicago was an illustration of reform, and New York of good government. All these things occur in most of these places” (16).

By singling out each cities problem, Steffens hopes to inspire political reform as he views the public as complacent and uncaring to the political problems that surround them. Steffens combines both an investigative style with that of literary journalism as he finds out new facts about the public and presents them with literary language and description. He says, “I am a journalist. I did not gather with indifference all the facts and arrange them patiently for permanent preservation and laboratory analysis. I did not want to preserve, I wanted to destroy the facts” (18).

Although investigative in nature, Steffens writes in a style that captures more than just the facts and also writes in an objective manner.   Steffens is also a journalist with an agenda as he hopes to wake up public opinion and get the public involved. He says that, “My purpose was no more scientific than the spirit of my investigation and reports; it was, as I said above, to see if the shameful facts, spread out in all their shame, would not burn through our civic shamelessness and set fire to American pride” (18).

The article, “Tweed Days in St. Louis”, focuses on St. Louis elected attorney Joseph Folk (see Fig. 2) who launched a huge investigation into the corruption of political leaders and business owners in St. Louis. Steffens writes in a style very similar to Ida Tarbell with minimal dialogue.

Fig. 2: Joseph Folk was an American lawyer who lived from 1869-1923. He worked to expose corruption in St. Louis and promoted political reform.

Fig. 2: Joseph Folk was an American lawyer who lived from 1869-1923. He worked to expose corruption in St. Louis and promoted political reform.

What little dialogue he uses sets the scene and solidifies his commentary on the corruption he is writing about. “Bribery was a joke. A newspaper man overheard this conversation one evening in the corridor of the City Hall. ” Ah there, myboodler!” said Mr. Delegate. ” Stay there, my grafter!” replied Mr.Councilman. “Canyon lend me a hundred for a day or two?” “Not at present. But I can spare it if the Z— bill goes through to-night. Meet me at F—’slater.” “All right, my jailbird; I’ll be there.”’ (579).

He also writes his pieces in a similar length to Tarbell with long paragraphs and descriptions. He also includes highly factual information that can be difficult to write about because it is legal and can be hard for a reader to follow. By using description Steffens breaks up his factual information and provides readers with an idea of what political reform should look like.

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Note the Way, the Hemingway That Is

Author: Ernest Hemingway
Title: “Italy, 1927”
Publisher: The New Republic, Vol. L. No. 650, 1927

Title: “Hemingway Reports Spain”
Publisher: The New Republic, Vol. LXXXXIII. No. 1206, 1938


EH 2723P

Fig. 1: Ernest Hemingway was an American author and journalist who lived from 1898-1961. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

Today in class we discussed two articles written by Ernest Hemingway (see fig. 1) during the first half of the twentieth century. Hemingway is one of the most famous American authors; two of his best known titles include A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. He actually started out as a journalist and war correspondent – positions that greatly influenced his writing style.

As a correspondent, Hemingway used the telegram to communicate information (see fig. 2). This highly condensed form of communication, sometimes referred to as cabelese, influenced his short and simplistic style of writing. Later, however, he told Lincoln Steffens, “I had to quit being a correspondent. I was becoming to fascinated by the lingo of the cable” (Green 64). After this move, Hemingway evolved his style away from the condensed, short version to a much wordier style.


Fig. 2: A photo of a telegraphic message used during the twentieth century. The short, highly condensed style influenced Ernest Hemingway’s writing style.


This shift is evident in the two articles we read in class: “Italy, 1927” and “Hemingway Reports Spain,” written in 1927 and 1938, respectively. We will now briefly examine both articles to point out the differences in style between the two pieces of work written eleven years apart.

In “Italy, 1927,” Hemingway offers a series of short anecdotes about his encounters with Fascists in Italy. He employs a kaleidoscopic structure in which he uses the different stories to create an overall impression of the atmosphere during that time period. In the article, he describes his encounters with a stranger who hitchhikes on his car, ladies in a restaurant that try to seduce his friend, and a man on a bicycle who writes him a ticket.

In the article “Hemingway Reports Spain,” Hemingway does just what the title suggests – reports on Spain during the Spanish Civil War. He describes the efforts and experiences of the American soldiers during the trying times. He offers facts and figures on the attacks and casualties; when describing the front on Belchite, he lists 23 Americans killed and 60 wounded (“Spain” 1).

One of the biggest differences between Hemingway’s style in 1927 versus in 1938 is his sentence length. In the earlier article, he writes in very short and simple sentences, sometimes combined with a conjunction. This is evident in the passage about Spezia: “We came into Spezia looking for a place to eat. The street was wide and the houses high and yellow. We followed the tram track into the center of town” (“Italy” 2).


Fig. 3: A photo of the aftermath of the Battle of Belchite, which was fought during the Spanish Civil war from August 24th and September 7th, 1937.

By 1938, Hemingway is writing in much longer and wordier sentences. Sometimes one sentence constitutes as an entire paragraph: “They have fought with the first Spanish troops of the new government army, captured the strongly fortified heights and town of Quinto in  a brilliantly conceived and executed fashion, and have taken part with three Spanish brigades in the final storming of Belchite (see fig. 3) after it had been surrounded by Spanish troops” (“Spain” 1).

Another major difference between two articles is Hemingway’s employment of dialogue. In “Italy, 1927” he includes a great deal of dialogue, and oftentimes the dialogue is the bulk of a scene. He incorporates the back-and-forth exchanges between the individuals into his article. One example of this is the lengthy conversation between Hemingway, his friend guy, and a lady in the restaurant (“Italy” 2). Occasionally paragraphs and descriptions will break up these conversations, but the dialogue conveys the majority of the information.

Contrastingly, Hemingway utilizes very little dialogue in his 1938 article. In fact, in the entire article – which is roughly equivalent in length to “Italy, 1927” – he only inserts three  sections of dialogue. Two of the uses are just one line quotes, and the only back-and-forth exchange simply includes a question, an answer, and a reply (“Spain” 2). As his style evolved, he clearly moved away from dialogue and relied much more on description.

the new republic

Fig. 4: A photo of a cover of The New Republic, the magazine that published “Italy, 1927” and “Hemingway Reports Spain” by Ernest Hemingway.

Additionally, Hemingway began to incorporate the element of second person in “Hemingway Reports Spain,” which was not present at all in “Italy, 1927” (see fig. 4). This usage reflects the increased complexity of his word choice and structure as he evolved. In one passage in the 1938 article, he writes, “They say you never hear the one that hits you. That’s true of bullets, because, if you hear them, they are already past” (2).

Hemingway made a conscious effort to move away from the short, simplistic style of the cable lingo to a much longer, more descriptive style. This shift is extremely evident when comparing the articles “Italy, 1927” and “Hemingway Reports Spain.”






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