:: Pulitzer Prize winner Will visits Elon
Although George Will loves baseball enough to write a book about it, he plays a different type of hardball: political journalism.
He will offer his commentary on the current U.S. political situation and provide a look at future political and social endeavors for the United States in his lecture entitled “The Political Argument Today” at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 in McCrary Theatre.
This event is sold out, but a limited number of holding tickets will be made available approximately an hour before Will’s speech.
Those with holding tickets will be admitted to Yeager Recital Hall where they will view Will’s lecture as a closed-circuit broadcast on a large projection screen.
There is also a question and answer session before his speech. This is only open for students and faculty members from 4 to 5 p.m. in Whitley Auditorium.
Will has served as a Newsweek contributing editor since 1976, a member of The Washington Post Writers Group since 1974, a founding member of ABC’s Sunday morning show, This Week, since 1981 and a syndicated columnist who appears in more than 450 newspapers.
“The greatest benefit a journalism student can learn from George Will is the importance of ideas,” said Michael Skube, assistant professor of communications and fellow Pulitzer Prize winner.
“I’m afraid we tend to get so caught up in being ‘with it,’ in being in touch with the newest technology, that we forget they are only tools, and sometimes nothing more than toys. What is immeasurably more consequential is knowing something about the real world and knowing the driving force of ideas - that and being able to write well,” said Skube. “At the same time, it’s important to note that good journalism begins with good reporting, and George Will has never been a reporter or, for that matter, an editor. His has been the charmed life of a commentator.”
Someone of Will’s stature does not come without a bit of controversy, especially when combining the conflict of politics with the spotlight of journalism. During the 1980 elections, Will, despite his career in journalism, decided to openly support Ronald Reagan.
Will acknowledges aiding Reagan in his preparation for his debate against Jimmy Carter, but the controversy was set mostly around an accusation that Will stole Carter’s briefing book, thus giving Reagan an advantage. He admits his involvement in the debate was inappropriate, but he has repeatedly denied the accusation surrounding the briefing book.
He has won numerous awards including the National Headliners Award and Silurian Award, declared the “best writer on any subject” by The Washington Journalism Review, and named in the top 25 most influential Washington journalists by the National Journal.
He was honored with a Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for Commentary. Will’s journalistic career is very remarkable because he maintained a very traditional education, receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton in politics.
Will’s visit is made possible by the Baird Pulitzer Prize Endowment, which funds “Pulitzer Prize winners who represent different fields in which the Pulitzer Prize is awarded and individuals representing a range of political persuasions and views,” said George Troxler, dean of Cultural and Special Programs.
Past speakers have included Frank McCourt, Edmund Morris, Anna Quindlen, Thomas Friedman, David Halberstam and David McCullough.
You can find more information on George Will, including links to his recent articles published in The Washington Post, on Elon’s Cultural Calendar at www.elon.edu/e-net/cultural.
Reporter: Meredith Larkin - 09/19/07