Friday, February 5, 2010

David W. Berner

David W. Berner is an award-winning journalist, writer, documentarian, and teacher. His most recent book, Accidental Lessons—A Memoir of a Rookie Teacher and a Life Renewed, was published in February, 2009.

From his Q & A at The Write City Magazine:

Q: Tell us about your background as a Chicago radio journalist and how that has helped or hindered your writing career.

I came to Chicago in 1988 to work as a reporter/anchor at WMAQ radio. It was an all news operation and that had been my background, after a couple years, believe it or not, of being a disc jockey on a country radio station in Pittsburgh. I got into the news business after simply being asked by a program director, “Can you do news?” I worked as an anchor, reporter, and eventually became a news director.

I then worked as a senior writer for 18Global, a web-based golf editorial site out of South Africa. It was a fascinating and fun job. But didn’t last. It crashed and burned with a lot of the other dot-com’s in the 1990s. I then moved into freelance work, then teaching, and continued work as a reporter at WBBM Radio. Still work there occasionally today.

How has it helped or hindered my writing? It’s helped because it’s made me work very hard at getting the facts of a story, getting to the truth, especially when I’m writing creative non-fiction. But it’s also hindered for the same reason. In daily broadcast work the writing is very much about the details and facts, and less about the nuances or back story. At first, flushing out a story for a book was hard. I had to really work at interior monologue, for instance. I had to find the places to expand on the story, giving it context and detail. It took some time.

Q: Tell us about the events that led to your writing “Accidental Lessons: A Memoir of a Rookie Teacher and a Life Renewed.”

I had gone through a number of life changes – divorce, death of my father, new jobs, no job, and a feeling of losing my place in the world. In desperation, really, I...[read on]
Writers Read: David W. Berner.

--Marshal Zeringue