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Howard Fineman gives a talk about today's world of journalism at the Kelly Writer's House. Fineman is a Senior Editor, Chief Political Correspondent, and Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Newsweek magazine, where he has helped the magazine win three National Magazine Awards (1982, 1992, and 1999). He is also a news analyst for NBC and its cable networks, MSNBC and CNBC, and appears regularly on Hardball with Chris Matthews and The News with Brian Williams. Credit: Mark Chou

Newsweek’s Senior Washington Correspondent, columnist, and NBC and MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman will teach a 3-session mini course at the Kelly Writers House this fall.

The sessions, to be held on three Mondays Sep. 27, Oct. 18, and Nov. 8 at 5:30 PM, will “survey the history of the best attempts, in fiction and non-fiction, to capture (in books primarily) the essence of American politics,” KWH director Al Filreis wrote in an e-mail.

Students must apply to attend the session. If accepted, participants will choose and discuss examples from magazines, using the “Best Political Writing” anthologies of 2008 or 2009, published by Public Affairs.

The course will also analyze the coverage of the 2010 midterm elections — not limited to the Pennsylvania Senate race, although “certainly not ignoring it, since at least one Penn alum is involved and another is lurking behind the scenes,” Filreis stated.

“Obviously, the course is set up to coincide with the fall 2010 elections. I imagine that everything they learn and discuss will be relevant to the national political scene,” he added.

Applications are due June 15 at the KWH, at 3801 Locust Walk, to Associate Director of Administration Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing Mingo Reynold. Interested students must submit a short writing sample of any format, including academic papers or journalistic pieces, as well as a list of related courses they’ve taken, according to Reynolds.

Those reviewing the applications will probably “give a nod” to juniors or seniors first, Reynolds said.

So far, Reynolds has received approximately twelve applications, but expects several more as the deadline approaches. Although the KWH hasn’t decided on a cap yet, the course probably won’t accept more than around twenty students, Reynolds said.

Fineman and Filreis had been discussing the non-credit course for a few months, according to Filreis. Fineman “loved the idea, and then he put a lot of effort into creating it, running ideas by me, etc.,” Filreis wrote. In addition to working for Newsweek, MSNBC, and NBC, Fineman has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Republic. He published a book, Thirteen American Arguments, last spring.

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