Around Tappan Square
students eager to break into the world of journalism have been waiting
for someone like Sam Fulwood for years. A columnist for the Cleveland
Plain Dealer and co-host of a PBS talk show, the award-winning
journalist is teaching a class this semester titled Studies in
"Except for the training sessions offered by
senior staff members of the Review for new writers, the College
has never offered formal classes in journalism," says Ireta
Kraal '02. A long-term manager of the Review, Kraal was one
of several students who proposed the new course to the College last
"There has been a long-standing student interest
in the subject," says Jan Cooper, John C. Reid Associate Professor
of Rhetoric and Composition, whose department invited Fulwood to
campus. "We're very excited about having a journalist of Mr.
Fulwood's stature teaching the course."
"I'm glad the College has brought in someone
who's actually worked in the field," Kraal adds. "Students
want to hear about how members of the media are addressing current
issues in their writing and how the media in general disperses information
to the public."
Fulwood earned his undergraduate degree from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.
At Oberlin, his real-world experience is a welcome addition to the
classroom, where students are given daily reading assignments from
The New York Times and are asked to examine "the whole
range of how we as individuals and as a society communicate with
"The students also are watching movies and television
shows and reading extensively," says Fulwood. "We are
looking at the big-picture issues in the communication arts--race
in the media, the role that rumor plays in information, myth-making,
and the stereotyping that goes all the way back to Homer and the
"We'll see how all media employ myth and stereotype
to form the basis for what we all know and share as information.
By the end of the semester, the students should be able to effectively
look at a piece of media and put it in the context of news, information,
To help his students acquire these skills, Fulwood
is drawing upon his experience as a three-times-a-week columnist
for the Plain Dealer; author; and reporter for the Baltimore
Sun, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the Los
Angeles Times, and his hometown newspaper, North Carolina's
As a Times' correspondent in the nation's capital,
Fulwood reported on domestic social issues as a congressional reporter,
covered the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, and created a
national race-relations beat. In 1992, he and several other staff
members won the Pulitzer Prize for their work covering the riots
that followed the Rodney King beating in South Central Los Angeles.
During his time at Oberlin, Fulwood also plans to
draw upon his television experiences to help expose his students
to issues in the media. Although he is devoting a good portion of
his time to teaching, Fulwood is also busy taping VillageAmerica,
a half-hour PBS news magazine show that examines national stories
from multicultural perspectives.
"You can't be a functioning individual or a member
of a collective in our society today and not be influenced or affected
by the media's enormous reach," Fulwood says. "More than
anything, I want the students in this class to come away with a
deeper understanding of what it is they are looking at when all
this stuff washes over them." His impression of Oberlin students?
"Bright, inquisitive, demanding and committed to what they
by Betty Gabrielli
James Millette's review of The Emperor's New Clothes (Fall
2001) contained an editing error. The copy should have read:
"The emperor had no clothes; but who would tell him so?
The only one who dared was the little boy, uninhibited by
the presumption that emperors are not supposed to be naked.
In strict scientific terms, race is a myth.
But the mythology is so powerful that those who question its
validity were for a long time, and sometimes still are, frequently
supposed to be foolish and ignorant, while those who indulged,
and sometimes still do indulge in racist superstition, have
profited mightily from their beliefs and are to be counted
among the powerful, the wealthy, the cultured, and the educated."