Throughout Edward Hoch’s long and prolific writing career as a mystery short story writer, he developed many recurring main characters, as we noted in last week’s newsletter. Most of these characters were male. A few, however – three to be exact – were female, and they are worth noting in and of themselves. In fact, […]
Graham Greene, the BBC, and the death of John le Carré, plus more sketchbook pages: newsletter, December 18, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,4xx) on Friday, December 18, 2020. With the death of John le Carré (see below) last weekend, my thoughts immediately turned back to the last couple of newsletters where I profiled Erskine Childers. In two different parts of the 20th century, these two writers did pretty […]
With the publication of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold in 1963, John le Carré redirected the genre of espionage fiction away from the fanciful world of James Bond to the moral grayness of people such as Alec Leamas and ultimately George Smiley. And while James Bond was lots of fun, George Smiley […]
If you know anything about journalism history, you probably know the name Richard Harding Davis. He was a reporter in the early 20th century known for his coverage of the Spanish-American Wa, the Boer War, and the beginnings of World War I. He was also one of the most handsome men of his day. His […]
After the publication of The Riddle of the Sands in 1903, Erskine Childers could have settled in to a literary and possibly a political life in London. The book had achieved astonishing success and popularity. The book had also become an important part of the ongoing debate in England at the time about the nation’s […]
Few historical figures can claim as many major literary executions and resurrections as Thomas More, venerated saint of the Roman Catholic Church, who was, in real life, executed by Henry VIII in 1536 for his refusal to sign the Oath of Supremacy. That oath would have acknowledged the king, rather than the Pope, as head of the […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,495) on Friday, November 20, 2020. Thanksgiving is approaching, and I have always particularly enjoyed our national season of gratitude. It is important that we acknowledge what we have been given, even during a year when all of us have seen our lives […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, November 6, 2020. There are those of us who are wondering if the fevered political season will ever end. An interesting novel is sometimes a good antidote. I’m reading a couple now: Ian Rankin’s In a House of Lies and Ian McGuire’s The Abstainer. […]
Mary Mapes Dodge, suffering from the disappearance and then death of her husband in 1857 and facing the need to support herself and her two sons, wrote one of the most beloved children’s novels of all time — Hans Brinkler or The Silver Skates. For that, she will always be remembered. But what she did beyond the […]
If you are a James Lee Burke or Dave Robicheaux fan, you will want to take a look this retrospective on Burke’s writing career by David Masciotra on CrimeReads.com. Although Burke has written much that does not include the flawed detective Robicheaux, this character is by far his most popular and most developed creation. Throughout his […]
The 19th amendment, James Lee Burke, John Quincy Adams, and NYT’s typos: newsletter, August 21, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, August 21, 2020. Through muted celebrations, we noted the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution this week. This amendment guaranteed the right of women to vote, and it represented the largest and most significant change […]
Being tall at Guadalcanal, a notorious pirate, rural noir, and the serial killer: newsletter, August 14, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, August 14, 2020. One of the things on my mind this week is the concept of respect. The thinking on that was kicked off by an NYT column by Bret Stephens on the 18th-century politician and philosopher Edmund Burke (Why Edmund Burke […]
The movie and book that define noir, online teaching and learning, the hard-boiled detective, and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, August 7, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, August 7, 2020. Churches can’t meet, businesses can’t operate properly, schools and libraries can’t open — none of this can happen without major concerns about the safety of the people involved. This is a deeply frustrating time for all of us. […]
Presidential candidates who stayed put and the one who didn’t, Smokey Robinson, and the no-tears absence of baseball: newsletter, May 15, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,579) on Friday, May 15, 2020. One of the bright spots we had going for us this spring — among so many spots that were not quite so bright — is the garden, which with plenty of rain and somewhat cooler temperatures had […]
The 20th-century’s top female journalist, good advice to editors, and more fodder for the spy novelist: newsletter, February 28, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,604) on Friday, February 28, 2020. As February rolls into March, I am impressed by three items of “too much” during the last two months: too much warm weather (I know, but it is winter), too much rain (just like last year), and too much political news (with much of it uniformly awful). If […]
In the mid-1980s, Eleanor Taylor Bland had to feel as though her life was falling apart. She was divorced from her husband of 31 years. Living in Waukegan, Illinois, she was half a country away from where she grew up in Massachusetts. She had a job that was less than inspiring. Worst of all, a […]
Chester Himes and his mysteries, the books you love and hate, and Agatha’s greatest story: newsletter, February 7, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,617) on Friday, February 7, 2020. One night this week, I foolishly counted the number of novels that I was reading simultaneously. It was five (count ’em, 5). A couple of them I have just started; another couple I’m well into and don’t feel like quitting yet. […]
In thinking about putting together a March display on Irish mystery writers for the local library, I asked my good friend and reference librarian/researcher extraordinaire Brennan L. — also proud Irish descendant — for a starter list. Here’s what she provided: Here is a handful of Irish/Northern Irish crime writers I have read. Sorry, but […]
Science fiction’s first Hugo, assassinating the PM Mantel-style, Stephen Fry’s podcast, and reader reaction: newsletter, January 31, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,617) on Friday, January 31, 2020. Death, unfortunately, is much in mind this week as we hear the tragic news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the others who perished in a helicopter accident earlier this week. I knew who Kobe Bryant was […]
On a Saturday in the middle of 1983, author Hilary Mantel looked out of the bedroom window of her flat in Windsor, west of London, and saw something she never expected to see: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wandering around the garden of a nearby hospital. Thatcher was by herself, and Mantel could see her clearly. […]
Heads and Tales on Amazon
Welcome to JPROF
Since 2004 JPROF.com has been providing journalism instructors and students with material and ideas for teaching and learning journalism. Jim Stovall is the site's creator and operator.
JPROF.com is now the site for First Inning Press and First Inning Artworks.
This site has more than 500 pages and posts. Use the Inside JPROF tab in the top menu, the search line above, and the categories and tags in the posts to find what you need.
The site for the textbook, Writing for the Mass Media, is now part of this JPROF.com site.
Get a FREE copy of Kill the Quarterback
Get a free digital copy of Jim Stovall's mystery novel, Kill the Quarterback. You will also get Jim's newsletter and advanced notice of publications, free downloads and a variety of information about what he is working on. Jim likes to stay in touch, so sign up today.
Success! Now check your email to confirm your address.