How to Do Everything

Erin Bried knows how to do just about everything. But what she does best is teach other people to do stuff. She’s the author of the book How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew.

Last year she visited my Introduction to Journalism and Reporting and Writing classes to explain how to conduct interviews. As an experienced journalist and senior writer for Self Magazine, she does that very well–especially with celebrities.

This semester, I used her how-to know-how to teach students to write how-to stories and create videos and slide shows. Explanatory journalism isn’t as easy as it looks. Done well, it’s thoughtful, clear and methodical. Erin does it well, and she’s charming and funny, too. The students really liked her guides to how to wear red lipstick and how to build a fire, the latter a video she uses to promote her  upcoming book How to Build a Fire and Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew.

For their assignments, some students wrote stories, some created videos and one made a slide show. Simone Tharkur and Donika Rexhepi, co-captains of the CCNY women’s basketball team, did an especially good job teaching the other students how to shoot a free throw and how to do a spin move. Emel Kaya, their classmate, presented step-by-step instructions on how to put on a pointe shoe. (Her video even includes some of her own ballet moves.)

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