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A better way to teach writing? Try journalism First there was Nathalie, an English language learner who whispered that she'd never done well in English, never liked it, but this course was different . And her writing was getting better. Then there was Nseandra, who avoided the news because it was depressing and paralyzing. Yet Nseandra became one of my strongest reporters, covering how Amazon's planned move to Queens (since abandoned) threatened gentrification that push out local residents. Melissa interviewed elderly and disabled riders on the Q27 bus, which runs between campus and town, and the need for better access to priority seating. Toussaint came to class focused on sports but rapidly stepped into an editorial role, then a paid internship at the New York Amsterdam News , which covers issues affecting the Black community. These were among the highlights of the decade I've teaching journalism at a community college. And they made me wonder: Why journalism? What was it this form — often disdained as non-literary — that engaged students more deeply with their research and writing? Full disclosure: I'm no expert in journalism. I'm an associate professor of English who has a doctorate in women's studies and contemporary literature. I fell into teaching journalism back in 2008, after I agreed to advise the student newspaper when the liberal arts college where I taught was in a pinch. (My role as advisor mostly consisted of attending biweekly production nights to eat Oreos and chat with the editors who probably would have been […]

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