Reading List


Anything by John McPhee (and there are a lot)

Sarah Davidson

Katherine Boo (The New Yorker magazine)

Tom Junod (Esquire magazine)


Anything by:

Colin Thubron

Wilfred Thesiger

Patrick Leigh Fermor

Edith Durham

Mary Kingsley

Caroline Alexander

Jonathan Rabin (non-fiction)

Eric Newby


George Plimpton

Drew Jubera (“Must Win”)

Gene Wojciechowski (“Pond Scum & Vultures”)

Paul Zimmerman on professional football

Charles Pierce



Hiker notes

Local high school teacher lost for four days in Smokies

Will Henderson, 37

had been hiking Appalachian Trail in GSMNP

got off trail near Gregory Bald

tried to cross stream, slipped and broke his leg


experienced hiker, hiking since he was 10

member of National Hiking Association

had food with him

had been hiking about 10 days before accident, starting in Georgia and then moving into Tennessee


used sticks and string to make a splint for leg

began crawling, pushing 40-pound pack in front of him

went through a lot of thick underbrush

finally made it back to main part of AT

found by two other hikers


AT is nearly 3,000 miles long, Georgia to Maine

one of most popular hiking trails in country


Henderson teaches biology at Jefferson High School in Jefferson City

hospitalized in Knoxville for a week

media all did stories about his ordeal

now back home


Knoxville paper you work for sends you to interview him

Here’s what he says:


“I never doubted that I would be found. I got discouraged sometimes, but I figured that I had plenty of food and thought that if I could get back to a trail – particularly the main Appalachian Trail because it’s so busy – somebody would come along before long.

“I’ll tell you though, I sure was happy when I heard those first footsteps coming up behind me. Those guys thought I was some kind of animal at first. I guess I looked pretty rough. They kind of hesitated in approaching me, but when I said, ‘help’ a couple of times, they came running.

“One of the guys stayed with me while the other went for help. They kept telling me not to go to sleep, and I didn’t. I was so happy then that I probably couldn’t have, even if I had wanted to. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when they found me, not if I live to be a hundred. Those guys are going to get mentioned in my will.

“The hardest thing about being lost was thinking that other people might be worrying about me. I was supposed to meet some friends in Gatlinburg a couple of days after I got lost. As it turned out, they weren’t worried but said if I had been gone another day, they would have contacted the park rangers and started a search.

“After a day or so of crawling, I had to discard most of my clothes and most of the other things in my pack. They had gotten too wet and heavy for me to push. Of course, I kept all of the food I had. It was mostly dry stuff – crackers, fruit, peanut butter, things like that.

“The mountain foliage was like a jungle. There had been a lot of rain up there this year, and it was really thick. If I had stayed where I was when I fell, I probably would still be there. At least, that’s what one of the park rangers said. I think I knew that instinctively when I fell, so I never thought about staying put. I knew that I had better get somewhere where people could find me.

“Besides food, I did manage to keep a few small things with me. I had several pictures of my wife and two little girls. I looked at them a lot, especially when I got discouraged. I would spend a little time looking at those pictures, and then I would crawl a little bit more.

“I broke the first rule of hiking, of course. I hiked alone. If you’re on the Appalachian Trail, it doesn’t matter because you’re not really alone. There are so many people on that trail. But when you get off the beaten track – that’s when you need to be with somebody. I learned my lesson about that. My goal is still to hike the entire trail, but I guess I’ll have to wait until I get my leg in shape.”



Jan Winburn

Jan Winburn, CNN’s senior editor for enterprise, will be speaking to two journalism classes Monday, Oct. 13, and Tuesday, Oct. 14. She will address issues of importance in today’s fast-changing world of journalism: Developing strong ideas, conducting thorough research and interviews, and then turning that information into a comprehensive and compelling story that is effective no matter the platform.


Her biography from the Poynter Institute:


Jan Winburn is senior editor for enterprise at CNN Digital, where she is bringing longform multimedia storytelling to a brand known for breaking news. Before becoming an online journalist in 2009, she spent 30 years as an editor and writing coach at newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 Her writers have captured numerous and varied awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the Ernie Pyle Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors’ awards and the prestigious Livingston Award for young journalists. She led Digital enterprise coverage of the BP oil spill that was part of CNN’s Peabody Award in 2010. The Dart Society recognized her career work with its 2009 Mimi Award given to editors “who encourage journalistic excellence.”

 She is an Editing Fellow at the Poynter Institute and has taught writing workshops all over the United States and abroad. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri, the author of “Shop Talk and War Stories: Journalists Examine Their Profession” and co-editor of two e-books, “Secrets of Prize-Winning Journalism 2013” and the 2014 edition.

On Monday, she will address Journalism 499, which will meet at 2:30 p.m. in Communications 321. On Tuesday, she will address the Journalism 230 lab that meets at 9:40 a.m. in the Scripps Lab. There are seats available for both sessions.CNN Digital Rebranding 2013 Jan Winburn

Scenario 3

Centers for Disease Control release on a study of nutritional supplements. Category includes vitamins, protein supplements and products promising muscle growth. “It turned out that at least half of the ingredients have no documented medical effect” quote from Ross Halleck, medical epidemiologist at the National Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control and a member of the study team. Study concluded that many of the nutritional supplements have no medical support for their advertising claims. (CDC headquartered in Atlanta.)

Scenario 2

Fire yesterday at Joe’s Pizza (2035 White Avenue). Two firefighters injured when roof fell in. Taken to St. Luke’s Medical center, treated for minor injuries. Fire started in basement, cause under investigation. Damages estimated at $100,000. Info from city fire officials.

Scenario 1

A study was released yesterday by the University of Colorado. It was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The study said that 60 percent of college students who begin studying science, mathematics or engineering switch to another major. Reasons cited by the study were poor teaching and an aloof faculty.

Cumberland Parking Garage Approved

City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve a plan for a parking garage for Cumberland Avenue’s “Strip” that would add 500 to 800 spaces to an area where parking is scarce. The garage is part of the Cumberland Avenue Redevelopment and Urban Renewal Plan.

An amendment to the budgets for fiscal year 2014-2015 brought the most discussion, with councilman Nick Della Volpe arguing that 25 percent of the 4.35 million dollar surplus be set aside for a “rainy-day fund” instead of being added to the general fund for renovations.

Mayor Madeline Rogero argued that deferring maintenance adds to its cost. “This is the time to invest wisely in infrastructure and in deferred maintenance,” she said. “If you want to save money, you save money by spending this money now.”

The rest of the council agreed with the mayor, and the amendment passed 8 to 1, with Della Volpe the dissenting vote.

In other action, rezoning requests involving properties in the Atlantic Avenue area and the Asheville Highway area were approved. Both involved changing areas from Residential. The Atlantic Avenue plots would be changed to Industrial and the Asheville Highway plots would become Office.


Profile excerpt

Selders arrived about an hour after we did, driving a van filled with sacks of grain. He was wearing what looked like a gas-station attendant’s uniform, with his name stitched over one front pocket and the Dogfish logo over the other. His hair was gelled into a miniature Mohawk — more Tintin than Billy Idol — and his eyes, framed by thick black glasses, wore their usual look of ironic bewilderment. Selders, who is thirty-three, was a painter and ska guitarist before he became a brewer. When he and Calagione aren’t making beer, they sometimes perform together at the pub as a beer-themed hip-hop duo called the Pain Relievaz (sample lyrics: “You’re the barley virgin that my malt mill will deflour”). At work, they maintain an amiably fractious relationship, built on a role reversal of sorts. Selders plays the boss, the beleaguered perfectionist, searching for efficiencies and citing studies from brewing journals; Calagione plays the wayward talent, sloppy but charismatic and, occasionally, inspired. “I’m a little scared of this project, to be honest with you,” Selders told me, as he was lugging the grain into the brewhouse. “Sam’s ideas … the executition doesn’t always match the theory.”




Editor in Chief: Christy Cleger

Managing Editor: Samantha Trueheart

Deputy Editor, Research Chief: Diana Barton

Articles Editor: Allie Holcomb

Department Editors: Sarah Dixon, Lauren Harris, Molly Spining

Designers: Monique Freemon, Theresa Vongkhamchanh

Photo Editors: Erin Grimson, Brittany Coggins

Editorial Director: Chris Wohlwend




The real ‘West Wing”

The following essay was written for a magazine-writing class in 2009.

by |

My political science teacher in college once broke down the definition of “politics” as “poly” meaning “many” and “ticks” meaning “parasites”. As he told our class this interpretation of politics’ definition, I agreed with him. At that point in my life, I viewed politics as several politicians meeting on Capitol Hill contemplating vital issues facing our nation and arguing over the necessary steps that needed to be taken in order to enhance the lives of American citizens.

While these outside views are widely shared by many Americans, they are no more than stereotypical beliefs. However, in the afternoon of Oct. 28, 2007, I found out first hand that I would be spending the spring 2008 semester as one of three interns in the White House Communications Office during President George W. Bush’s second term – an experience that would forever impact my views on United States politics.

One of my elder Chi Omega sorority sisters at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville did the White House speechwriting internship during the fall 2007 semester, and she was the one who inspired me to apply for the program. When I came to the University of Tennessee, I wanted to take a semester off to study abroad or engage in an internship program, and it was then I decided that perhaps D.C. could fulfill this role in my college experience.

I have not always had my eye on the political world. Originally from Loudon, a small, rural east Tennessee community with an estimated population of 4,000, I wanted to pursue a career in journalism so I could live the “Carrie Bradshaw dream” — move to New York following my college graduation, write about fashion, wear chic designer clothes and accessories as shown on HBO’s “Sex and the City” and enjoy brunch at a side-street cafe on a Saturday with friends discussing our current or non-existent romantic relationships. However, at the beginning of my sophomore year, as I began to “plan” out my life I began to realize that this New York fashion fantasy would not allow me to fulfill my goal of eventually settling down and raising a family; the long hours and extended traveling would always be an obstacle.

When I was in junior high school, NBC’s “The West Wing” was at its peak of television popularity. My mother was an avid viewer of the show after enjoying the film “The American President”, which influenced many features of “The West Wing”. I watched it with her occasionally on Wednesday evenings over our usual bag of Orville Redenbacher natural popcorn. I remember my favorite scenes of “The West Wing” were those that took place in the White House Press Briefing Room. Allison Janney’s character C.J., the press secretary, would always approach the podium with poise and dignity, taking crazed reporters’ questions, and I admired how, regardless of the question asked, she would deliver a response that was unbiased and pertinent. The White House’s Press Briefing Room in this show made the room appear to be a big, open conference room.

But as I attended my first White House Press Briefing, I was stunned and rather disappointed to discover that “The West Wing” really exaggerated the size of the room. The Press Briefing Room was about the size of a dining room in a fast food restaurant. I would estimate that eight to 10 rows of chairs lined the room with each major newspaper and broadcasting network having an assigned seat, with Helen Thomas, the Hearst newspaper columnist, sitting front and center because of her 57 years as a reporter covering the White House.

In New Line Cinema’s dark comedy,“Wag the Dog”, Robert De Niro portrays a Washington spin doctor who, only days before a presidential election, distracts the American people from a sex scandal by recruiting a Hollywood film producer, played by  Dustin Hoffman, to fabricate a war with Albania.

The film opens with a question: “Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog.” So the film wonders whether the dog wags the tail, or does the tail wag the dog? We see the tail moving, and we assume the dog is wagging it, but perhaps the tail is wagging the dog, and the dog is enjoying the attention. It refers to making a situation seem something it is not by creating the situation in such a way that the spectators react in a predetermined manner. With its tagline reading, “A comedy about truth, justice and other special effects,” “Wag the Dog” presents a possible scenario of what happens behind closed doors at the White House, and the tactics used to cover up a political figure’s flaws.

As a White House intern, I did not have a complete “all access pass” to know every detail and action going behind closed doors in the East and West Wings. Thanks to a particular former White House intern who wore a blue dress, we interns were required to wear a bright, red intern-labeled badge which limited our access to certain areas of the White House without a proper escort.But I was provided President Bush’s daily schedule and his views on political issues.

If I did not stand out enough in the political world of D.C., my first day going into work provided more evidence for this point. It was an estimated 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of 24, and living up to my fashion standards, I was dressed in a black J. Crew office dress, black Ralph Lauren leather boots and a matching set of pink scarf and gloves. As I walked through the staff gate at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and placed my purse on the security conveyor belt, one of the Secret Service men jokingly commented to his fellow guards, “Look, boys, she’s Reese Witherspoon from that ‘Legally Blonde’ movie.” I shot a smile and laughed, taking the guard’s comment as a compliment (I am a big fan of Reese) — but I also realized that I might not be taken seriously in my work if I became a victim of my own hair color (the blonde, ditzy sorority-girl type).

One of my responsibilities as a White House Communications intern was to assist the Policy and Procedures office with the compilation of a daily news bulletin, “The Morning Update.” I was in charge of searching for news headlines from major newspapers, highlighting important stories related to President Bush’s policies and important legislation discussed on Capitol Hill. I also conducted research by using LexisNexis to look for quotes from major newspapers’ editorials, senators, state representatives and other individuals for press releases that supported a current policy/issue the President wanted to pass into law. While I was conducting research for “The Morning Update” and press releases in the early days of my internship, I realized I was completely naive about the current events and issues affecting our country. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (known to all of my co-staffers as “FISA”) was a new term to me. Other than my Tennessee state representatives, I had only heard of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. As for the remaining members of Congress, I was clueless. But my research allowed me to become more familiar with these other important leaders.

My White House internship served as the “ah hah moment” in my life that told me I needed to become more informed of the current political activities transpiring in both Tennessee and Washington. This was also the time when I began reading news publications like “The Washington Post” and “The New York Times”, realizing their articles were more essential than the latest fashion trends modeled on the French couture runway or the latest hairstyles featuring bangs.

So, here I am two years later. I just completed a constituent-services internship for Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and am a 2010 college graduate. And I pay attention to the national news, following of the political happenings in D.C. But I miss knowing what’s going on behind the closed doors to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and sometimes the West Wing.

I owe gratitude to my former co-staffers at the White House Communications Office. Not only did they give me the experience many professionals would envy, but they challenged me in ways I had never been challenged before. By producing press releases, I learned the value of accuracy and efficiency. I became a better team player by working with two male interns from other regions of the country. Ultimately, I began to pay more attention to current events — realizing that it is easier to produce press releases when I actually knew background information about the subject/issue at hand.

While I still remain up-to-date on the latest fashion trends and thumb through the current “Cosmopolitan” while going through the checkout lane at Target, I also fit NBC’s “National News” with Brian Williams in my daily schedule to hear what the latest buzz is on Capitol Hill and around the world. For me, continuing to educate myself on current events is important to not only develop informed positions on certain issues but to also enjoy the foundation of democracy.