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Reportage Essay Draft
Attend a public event; for example, a book reading, a political rally/speech, a PTA meeting, a town meeting, a grand opening of something, etc. Take your time when considering the event selection; think it through. Show up to this event knowing that you will be writing about what you experience; writing should be your primary purpose, not a convenient one. Don’t write about an event you previously attended that seems to work for this assignment. Don’t put this assignment “on the back burner” as you attend an event you’re required or already planning to attend. It is important that you show up with the knowledge that you will be reporting on this experience and the writing of this assignment remains the primary drive for attendance.
While I’m not requiring it, you should consider doing the following:
- Ask questions
- Talk to people
- Collect materials
- Explore the space
- Look for details
- Take notes; taking notes is actually more of a requirement. If you intend to quote someone, you need to write it down; if it’s an individual conversation you need to let people know what you’re doing. Say, “I’m writing an article about this. Could I ask you a couple questions?”
Write about the event. Notice I didn’t say “write about the experience.” There exists in this assignment a significant difference in objective than was behind the Self in Context assignment. That was personal narrative. Here you’re expected to report. This isn’t about you or your experience, this is about the event and the communicating of it. It need not be a black and white, only-the-facts endeavor; you are more than welcome to include your personal experience, but the purpose of doing so must always be with the intention of explaining/describing/examining the event itself. Be aware of:
- Bias; this does not mean you need to be un-biased, but any bias that exists in the piece needs to be intentionally included