Master-class for Journalists on Feature writing with Kevin Van Valkenburg

Journalists are invited to sign up for a master-class with Kevin Van Valkenburg- a senior writer for ESPN magazine on Feature writing. The lecture is organized by the Centre for Media Studies at SSE Riga in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Latvia.

16:00 - 19:00 Wednesday 24/05/2017

SSE Riga, Strelnieku 4a

The master-class by Kevin Van Valkenburg will touch upon the issues of:

  • How to frame a prickly question?
  • What kind of details are important to capture as you lay the scene for your readers?
  • How can we take basic wire copy, and turn it into fair and objective analysis that people can count on?

Light dinner snacks and drinks will be served before the start of the Master-class. 

Please register below. The deadline for registration: 9:00, May 24.

About Kevin Van Valkenburg

Before writing for ESPN Kevin Van Valkenburg was a features and investigative reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspaper.Last year he received a prestigious fellowship at the University of Montana Journalism School where he was a guest lecturer and taught feature writing.Here are a few examples of his writing:

Rice case: purposeful misdirection by team, scant investigation by NFL (
This was a major investigative story that detailed the truth about how a professional sports team and the National Football League (arguable the most powerful sports organization in the world) tried to cover up a domestic abuse scandal.

Rayna's Second Season (Baltimore Sun)
First of a two-part series that tells the story of a university basketball player who contracted meningitis and eventually had her legs and arms amputated. This story was included in the prestigious Best American Sports Writing of 2005 anthology.

This Too is Baltimore (
Following the riots in Baltimore in 2015, Mr. Van Valkenburg wrote an opinion piece about the role of sports in society and how the city was mourning the violence that had taken place. The story touches on race relations, police violence, volunteerism, and the spirit of hope.

Storytelling 101
Mr. Van Valkenburg gives an exhaustive list of great examples of writing (in English). I anticipate that he will hit on these same principles with students to help them improve their writing and storytelling ability. As he points out, "A lot of people think it’s pointless to teach 'longform' (a term I’ve grown to dislike in recent years, because of how often it’s abused) because of space restrictions and people’s iPhone attention spans. But they’re wrong. You can apply the storytelling techniques in these pieces to stories of almost any length: Tension, action, dialog, detail, character development."

Storytelling Matters
As the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor at the University of Montana, Mr. Van Valkenburg gave a public lecture about the importance of storytelling and how stories are "a time machine that can heal the world." 


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