1964 College graduate and journalist Dan Rottenberg discussed his memoir "The Education of a Journalist: My Seventy Years on the Frontiers of Free Speech" at a Kelly Writers House event.
Rottenberg said his new memoir details his personal experience with journalism in the digital age as well as what others can learn from his 70-year career.
Rottenberg has served as the editor-in-chief of seven publications, including the Broad Street Review, and authored 12 books. He has also written for various publications such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes, and Rolling Stone on topics ranging from film critiques to the Chicago Seven trial.
“My original motivation was to try to encourage young people to go into journalism,” Rottenberg said. “The second was to leave some kind of record of what I’ve been doing with my life, and hopefully there’s another market of people who are really curious about what it was like to practice journalism over the last 70 years in this country.”
Rottenberg, who was sports editor and columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian during his time at Penn, also spoke about his experience at Penn, crediting the University for jumpstarting his journalism career and introducing him to his wife.
At Penn, Rottenberg was also on varsity football. At the event, he added that his experiences there taught him lessons that apply to his career as a writer and editor, such as how to push limits and take constructive criticism.
Rottenberg encouraged students to keep an open mind when considering a career in journalism.
“You have a story to tell, and you don’t know how valuable that is going to be to people in the future … You have no idea what kind of opportunities you’ll find,” Rottenberg said.
A full recording of the event can be found on the Kelly Writers House YouTube channel.
Director of Kelly Writers House Jessica Lowenthal said that Rottenberg’s book launch aligned with an existing series of journalism-centered talks hosted by Penn professor Dick Polman, the Maury Povich writer in residence and political columnist and daily blogger for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Lowenthal added that lunchtime events with alumni authors at the Kelly Writers House are less about lining up with book schedules and more about developing interesting conversations.
“I always find that any author who visits us adds to the possibilities for how one might go about creating a career,” she said. “It’s helpful to have lots of conversations with visiting writers, and with journalism changing so much, it’s especially important now to hear about all the possibilities that there might be.”