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Bob Schmuhl Book Examines Journalism in American Culture

Author: Shannon Chapla

Making Words Dance

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Robert Schmuhl, Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Professor of American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame, is the editor of a new book that examines both the writer’s art and the role of journalism in American culture.

Released this month by Andrews McMeel Publishing, “Making Words Dance: Reflections on Red Smith, Journalism, and Writing,” features lectures by 15 of the country’s most respected journalists and writers, given as part of a Notre Dame lecture series that honors award-winning columnist Walter W. “Red” Smith.

The book offers assessments of the news business and writing by Ted Koppel, Frank McCourt, Jim Lehrer, Judy Woodruff, David Remnick, and James Reston, among others. It also includes the final lecture on journalism given by Tim Russert before his untimely death in 2008.

The book, which includes an introduction by Schmuhl about Smith and his influence, was praised in a recent Chicago Tribune review by cultural critic Julia Keller as a “marvelous new volume of essays” and a “sparkling collection.”

The collected lectures are complemented by 16 articles and columns by Smith, a legendary sports columnist and 1927 Notre Dame graduate who won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1976. At the time of his death in 1982, he was a columnist for The New York Times. The book’s prologue “Remembering Red” was written by his son Terence Smith, also a Notre Dame graduate and award-winning journalist.

Director of the Red Smith Lecture in Journalism since its inception in 1983, Schmuhl also is director of Notre Dame’s John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy in the Department of American Studies. The author or editor of 10 other books, he also serves as a national political analyst for print and broadcast media.

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