University News

Roose ’09.5 discusses making it as writer today

Novelist, journalist, TV producer talks new media in journalism, advice for aspiring writers

Contributing Writer
Thursday, March 10, 2016

Author and television producer Kevin Roose ’09.5 spoke about his experiences in media and journalism Wednesday at the Brown/RISD Hillel. As part of the emerging writers portion of the Great Nonfiction Writers Series, the talk, titled, “How to Write Nonfiction on the Internet Without Hating Yourself,” was addressed to aspiring writers.

Roose’s talk focused on the expansion of new media in journalism. He gave advice to students trying to make it in what he described as an “incredible, bizarre time in American media.”

He defined the challenges facing young writers in new media as a competition with “everything on your phone,” from “your friend’s snap stories” to “Kanye West’s twitter feed.”

Roose published the first of his two novels, “The Unlikely Disciple,” while a senior at Brown. “Young Money,” the second, came out in 2014. Roose now works as a news director at Fusionand  as co-host and producer of Fusion’s “Real Future,” a television series about new media technology and the future.

Roose’s resume also includes stints as a New York Magazine technology columnist and business reporter for the New York Times. He touched on these experiences in his talk, sharing some of the challenges he has faced in the first several years of his career as a writer and blogger for a variety of outlets.

“I really hope I can be helpful. I made a lot of mistakes early in my career, and I wish someone with the experience had talked with me,” he said.

“The fact that he was offering so much advice to young writers who want to get jobs in new media — which is where they’re going to find them — was so new and fantastic,” said Elizabeth Taylor, co-director of the nonfiction writing program and senior lecturer in English.

On returning to campus, Roose reflected on his experience at Brown. He praised the school for being “so unbelievably useful” to him as a writer. “I got so much wonderful support from the professors here in the English department.”

“It’s great that he can come and reinvigorate us,” said Gus Esselstyn ’17, who attended the event. Roose’s words could make students “feel better about our future as writers,” he added.

Roose ended his speech with a list of 10 commandments for writers hoping to get a career in journalism, the last of which was a quote from his mentor and fellow Brown alum A.J. Jacobs ’90. “If you don’t say yes to the adventures, you’ll have a boring life.”