University News

Rohde ’90 to return to Little Rhody

Acclaimed journalist will teach spring semester course

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Correction appended.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Rohde ’90 — who wrote a series of stories detailing his escape from Taliban captors — will teach an upper-level journalism class this spring in the English department.

“I hope the class will help students determine whether they want to pursue a career in journalism,” Rohde said. He said his course, ENGL 1160: “Advanced Journalism: Investigative and Online Reporting,” will teach students about the realities of his field by exposing them to diverse assignments like traditional investigative pieces and blogging. The class will also explore online journalism and how to critically consider this developing area.

In 2009, Rohde came to Brown to give a guest lecture. After the lecture, “a member of the administration suggested I consider teaching nonfiction writing at a university,” Rohde said. “I then told them I’d like to teach a class at Brown.”

Elizabeth Taylor, co-director of the nonfiction writing program, said the English Department is always looking for interesting visiting professors, but finding accomplished writers who can also teach is no easy task. “Rohde is not just going to tell war stories,” she said. He “will be a gift to students this spring.”

Rohde recalled his own time at Brown and said he is excited to return to his alma mater. “I took a nonfiction writing seminar with former Professor Roger Henkle. It was by far the best class that I took at Brown,” he said.

“He was an astonishingly insightful, kind and supportive teacher. He inspired me tremendously,” Rohde said. “The class convinced me to try to become a journalist. Many of the other students in that seminar went on to become journalists and writers as well. I will do my best to create that same type of experience for students.”

Rohde decided to teach while he was working for the New York Times, but he has since moved to Reuters.

As a prerequisite for the class, students must have completed ENGL 0160: “Journalistic Writing.” Like all writing seminars, enrollment will be limited to 17 students.

Getting into the class is bound to be difficult, but Rohde offered advice to all students considering a career in journalism — “the key is both getting the story right and telling it wonderfully,” he said. “Most of all, don’t get discouraged. This a time of tremendous upheaval and change in journalism, but opportunities will emerge if you are focused and patient. Brown has produced many outstanding journalists and writers.”

A previous version of this article misspelled the name of journalist David Rohde ’90. The Herald regrets the error.

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