Emory Report

September 21, 1998

 Volume 51, No. 5

Author, reporter Nathan McCall joins Emory faculty

Nathan McCall, bestselling author and reporter for The Washington Post, has been appointed to a three-year position with Emory's journalism program. McCall, who also reported six years for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will teach two journalism classes and one course each in creative writing and African American Studies each year, beginning in the spring semester.

"I'm delighted that journalism's first full-time faculty hire is Nathan McCall, an experienced reporter and gifted writer with a firsthand knowledge of Atlanta," said Program Director Loren Ghiglione. "His appointment reflects our commitment to building a distinguished, distinctive program."

While McCall has been a journalist for more than 15 years, it was the 1994 publication of his memoirs, Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America, that established McCall as a prominent voice in this country on social and racial issues and on the role of the press in covering those issues. Makes Me Wanna Holler became a New York Times bestseller and was named Blackboard Book of the Year.

McCall, who has lectured at more than 20 colleges, has clear-cut goals as visiting lecturer at Emory. "I really want to challenge students to think critically about news with a view toward helping bolster the profession down the road," he said.

"With the current emphasis on sensationalism, journalism is suffering from a kind of identity crisis right now. It's going to take present-day journalists to figure out what has gone wrong, but it's future journalists who will help re-establish the lofty ideals that serve as the foundation for journalism."

In 1981 McCall earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Norfolk State University in Virginia. He became a reporter for the Virginia Pilot-Ledger Star, also in Norfolk. In 1983 he joined The Washington Post. There he covered the city hall beat and the prison system in D.C. and wrote opinion pieces for the "Outlook" section.

With the success of his book, McCall left the Post to continue lecturing. What he saw and heard from people of all backgrounds while touring the country led him to write a second book. In 1997 Random House published What's Going On, a series of personal essays that address the day-to-day social, cultural and political tensions in this country.

"We're faced with a lot of very complicated challenges--social challenges and racial challenges in particular--as we approach the new millennium," said McCall. "I think that journalists are going to play a key role in helping inspire the rest of the country to confront these challenges. And the way to do that is to help these students learn how to present the issues to the public so that people can be really informed about what's going on and make intelligent decisions and draw intelligent conclusions."

The African American Studies Program will host a reading and booksigning by McCall Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in the reception hall of the Carlos Museum. For more information call 404-727-6847, or visit the African American studies web site at <www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/AAS>.

-Jacqueline Bullard

This article was originally published in the Journalism Newsletter and is used with permission.

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