This Thursday evening the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism will host best-selling authors Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food), and Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short) in a conversation "about writing, storytelling, books, and journalism." It should be a good one. Both men are at the top of their game; Pollan writing at length on food and agriculture, Lewis mostly covering the finance and economics beat.
Pollan is currently Knight Professor at the journalism school and Lewis is listed as a Koret Teaching Fellow and lecturer there. Lewis's appointment may come as some surprise to anyone who remembers "J-School Confidential," his brilliant and very funny essay on the Columbia Journalism School, published in The New Republic in 1993. At the time, Lewis wrote:
Journalism schools are not alone in their attempts to dignify a trade by tacking onto it the idea of professionalism and laying over it a body of dubious theory. After all, McDonald's Hamburger U. now trains Beverage Technicians. But the journalist's role is precisely to cut through this sort of obfuscation, not to create more of it. The best journalists are almost the antithesis of professionals. The horror of disrepute, the preternatural respect for authority and the fear of controversy that so benefit the professional are absolute handicaps for a journalist. I doff my cap to those who have survived the experience of journalism school and still write good journalism. They deserve every Distinguished Alumni Award they receive, and more.
The event is a fundraiser in support of graduate student fellowships. Tickets start at $125.