The Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program
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UNH Welcomes Chris Outcalt '06 as the 2013 Donald Murray Visiting Journalist
Chris Outcalt, ’06, knows firsthand the challenges journalists face today.
Those challenges include “questions about the viability of journalism as a business, questions about the relevance of print products, questions about how best to ‘go digital’ and even questions about the legitimacy of our work,” he says.
But the biggest challenge of all, Outcalt says, is “actually learning the craft of journalism.”
“It’s not that those other ‘future of journalism’ questions aren’t important – they are, and I always try to think critically about the future of journalism,” says Outcalt.
“But I don’t think there’s an answer to these contemporary questions about journalism that doesn’t include elements of quality reporting and quality storytelling. Quality. To me that’s the key.
“So ironically, I think the biggest challenge journalists face is one they’ve always faced: learning how to be good reporters and good storytellers.”
Outcalt, an assistant editor at 5280 Magazine in Denver, Colorado, will give a talk entitled “Good stories have a soul, and other things I’ve learned as a journalist” Tuesday, April 9 at 5 p.m. in MUB Theater I. The talk is free and open to the public.
As the Donald Murray Visiting Journalist for 2013, Outcalt will also visit journalism classes April 8-11.
Outcalt writes and edits a variety of pieces for 5280 Magazine and for 5280.com on such topics as business, real estate, travel and the environment.
His Nov. 2010 narrative feature investigated the first murder in three decades in Vail, a posh ski resort town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. This past year, Outcalt co-wrote a feature-length piece that examined the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing.
A native of upstate New York, Outcalt started his career at the York Weekly and went on the work for the Portsmouth Herald. He has also reported for weekly and daily newspapers in Colorado. Outcalt has received multiple awards for his work, including being named “Rookie of the Year” by the New Hampshire Press Association in 2007.
The Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program is named in honor of the late Donald Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who started the UNH journalism program in 1963. Terry Williams ’80, publisher of the Telegraph of Nashua, led the fundraising drive for the program, with primary support coming from The McLean Contributionship and from UNH journalism alumni. Sponsored by the Journalism Program, the Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program brings accomplished alumni journalists to campus each year for week-long residencies during which they conduct classes, work with students and student media, and give a public lecture. Recent visiting alums include Pulitzer Prize wining Kevin Sullivan '81, Dana Jennings, ’80, of The New York Times and Chelsea Conaboy,’04, of Boston.com and the Boston Globe.
The program is sponsored by the UNH Journalism Program, the UNH English Department, the Telegraph of Nashua, and the McLean Contributionship.