It is better than you could ever imagine!
Have you ever wanted to be a surf journalist? To travel the world filling notebooks with fascinating insights from our best and brightest? To uncover stories that make readers both laugh and think? To dig deeper and shine a light on real but sometimes uncomfortable truths?
Well now you can learn how at the University of Southern California!
The school’s newspaper, The Daily Trojan, features this new course offering and let’s read about it!
Standing on the sand at Venice Beach, Soraya Simi knew her best view of her subject – a stand-up paddleboarder – would be from the water.
So she grabbed her wetsuit, fins and GoPro and jumped in. This is the life of a surf journalist.
Simi, a sophomore at USC, is in Keith Plocek’s class, “Shoot the Curl: Digital Storytelling and Surf Journalism,” the first surf journalism class to be offered at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Plocek, a surf journalist and the former head of digital for Village Voice Media, is giving undergrads the chance to, ahem, get their feet wet in the world of surf journalism.
But do you want to know something even better?
Zach Weisberg, THE Zach Weisberg, is a guest speaker!
A core component of Plocek’s class, which is a new offering this spring, is guest speakers. One was 31-year-old surf journalist Zach Weisberg MBA ’13
Weisberg, a former editor for Surfer magazine, now runs a surf and outdoors website called The Inertia, based in Venice (adjacent). He answered questions from students about everything from advertising to what makes a good story.
When it comes down to it, it’s about telling a story anyone can relate to – surfer or not, he said.
“We approach stories from a very human perspective,” he said of The Inertia. “We care about action and getting barrels and the waves getting big – but I think it’s really about relating to people at a personal level and that comes down to storytelling.”
Weisberg applauded Plocek’s multimedia focus. Beyond writing, students are tasked to shoot photo essays and create videos with GoPros. They even got a day at the beach to work with a drone.
SIGN ME UP!
I have written a little something about being a surf journalist is the upcoming book. I’ll give you a little taste here from Chapter 2 which is titled Refusal of the Call!
There are more unwritten rules than there are Hindu gods and the sum of these subtleties, utterly devoid of any real value, is what make up the surfer’s mind. It is why he is so oppressively shallow because his mind is stuttering over things like this, over where to put his hands in the lineup, how to put his boards on his car, if his neck tan is as delineated as it should be for the better part of each day.
And it is the surf journalist who takes it all one step further by contextualizing this utter vapidity. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine writing about it? Can you imagine writing about how a grown man wears his surf trunks? Thinking about it even? Well, I’ve been doing for the better part of my life now. Penning such instant classics REVEALED: LAIRD HAMILTON’S SECRET UNLOCKED! and DECIDED: THE SEXIEST VOICE IN SURFING! and HOW TO: WEAR SURF TRUNKS!
Nobody dreams of becoming a surf journalist. Nobody ever.