The great movie director Billy Wilder, whose six Academy Awards rank him among the best who have ever stood behind a camera and told the people in front of it what to do – was once asked during an interview for a biographer the accomplishment for which she was most proud. The answer from Wilder, […]
When Elizabeth Cochran was 16 years old, she lived with her family in Pittsburgh. The year was 1880, and Elizabeth was intelligent and precocious. The Pittsburgh Dispatch ran an article titled “What Girls are Good For,” and the author concluded the girls were good for having babies and keeping house. It was not an unpopular […]
Millions of Cats, Passing notes, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and more on Opening Day: newsletter, April 2, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,369) on Friday, April 2, 2021. The 2019 college admissions scandal that resulted in the indictments of more than 50 people — most of them the well-off and well-intentioned parents of college-aged children — was based on an idea that many people carry […]
The first of the modern female reporters, Handel’s revival, baseball’s Opening Day: newsletter, March 26, 2021
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,374) on Friday, March 26, 2021. Some of the best news of the week concerns one of my favorites: libraries. The recent stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joseph Biden contains $200 million to aid public libraries. That amount sounds like a lot, […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,386) on Friday, March 5, 2021. When I got into the rhythm of writing this newsletter several years ago, one of the things that I knew early on was that I wanted to learn more about – and write about — women who had […]
Maxine Cheshire was a reporter who knew how to get under people’s skin. She irritated Frank Sinatra into a drunken, expletive-ridden rant that was witnessed by dozens of people. She made Jacqueline Kennedy cry and provoked a presidential call to her publisher. She exposed the Nixon family’s greed in keeping gifts from foreign leaders. More […]
The Marines that he wrote about on Guadalcanal would tell Richard Tregaskis that if the Japanese captured him, they would probably use him as an “observation post.” They weren’t far from wrong. Tregaskis, a reporter during World War II for the International News Service, was six-feet, seven-inches tall — tall enough to be an observation […]
More on William Seward, another walk through the Golden Age, and writing like a rifle: newsletter, November 13, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, November 13, 2020. Some people cook and bake. Some people collect. Some make things. Some draw and paint, some listen (to music, etc.), some watch (birds, airplanes, insects, old movies, etc.), some read. The list could go on and on, of course. […]
The unknown Jacques Futrelle, Drew Pearson (part 2), and a podcast recommendation: newsletter, October 30, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,5xx) on Friday, October 30, 2020. Back to the (Zoom) Future. In the last few days, I attended a poetry reading of a friend’s new book on Facebook; I helped another friend launch a book on Zoom; and I attended a memorial service on YouTube for a friend […]
More on Mary Mapes Dodge, Josephine Tey and paranoia, and a couple of podcast recommendations: newsletter, September 18, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,529) on Friday, September 18, 2020. Getting a book that you have anticipated for a while and then having it live up to your expectations is a particular delight. That happened to me with the arrival of Ian Toll‘s Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western […]
Gordon Parks’ “Atmosphere of Crime” photos, the war in Iraq, a look back at William Manchester, and reader reactions: newsletter, Sept. 4, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,531) on Friday, September 4, 2020. The idea rattling through in my head for the last few days has been “gentleness.” Our modern human world doesn’t put much stock in the idea of gentleness, but nature does. I’m lucky in that I get to […]
Richard Ben Cramer, an extraordinary reporter, could pack enough energy into a paragraph to charge a lightning bolt. To read Cramer is to get caught up in his rhythm, to follow is thinking, and to come to his understanding of the subject he was reporting on. Cramer brought all of his writing and reporting talent […]
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 […]
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ENGINE OIL Understanding engine oil can be complicated and making the right choice for your vehicle can be time-consuming. In fact, many of us will pick up the first bottle we see without understanding what we are putting into our vehicles. As difficult as it may be, it is incredibly important to […]
The thrillers of Jack Higgins, the rise of Dorothy Thompson, plus some March literary madness: newsletter, March 6, 2020
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,602) on Friday, March 6, 2020. The tornados that roared through Nashville and Middle Tennessee earlier this week left death and destruction in their wake and broke more than a few hearts — one of them being mine. I grew up in east Nashville […]
When Robert Caro began his reporting career for Newsday in New York, an editor gave him a key piece of advice. Caro was working on his first big investigative story and going through lots of files. The editor’s advice: “Turn every page.” Caro took that advice to heart, and now he is one of the […]
It’s been almost two decades now (really? that long!), and the impeachment of Bill Clinton still rubs up against raw feelings on the part of Clinton’s supporters and opponents. And even if you don’t have feelings about it that were generated at the time (maybe you weren’t old enough to really remember), you should list […]
If you were an African-American in the 1940s and you wanted to participate in state and local politics, rural Georgia was not a kind or forgiving place. In fact, it could be very dangerous. That’s the story told by Hank Klibanoff, a journalist and now faculty member at Emory University in Atlanta, in the Buried […]
Good journalism saves lives. In this Age of Hyperbole, that’s no exaggeration. A couple of weeks ago in the newsletter, I mentioned John Carreyrou, investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and the book he has written title Bad Blood. The book tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes. the wunderkind of Silicon Valley, and her […]
Courtroom sketch artists are people who can draw (or paint) quickly, accurately depicting what they see and unafraid to allow others — maybe millions of others — to see what they have done. They work under seemingly impossible deadlines, sometimes only a few minutes, at best a few hours. There’s very little chance of editing or […]
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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.
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