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CAS 214W - Speech Writing

Instructor: Karen Wing, speech writer for Penn State President Eric Barron, who also filled this role for former Penn State Presidents Rodney Erickson and Graham Spanier.

Due to time pressures, media scrutiny, and sadly under-developed rhetorical talents, powerful people in the public and private sectors need speechwriters, and sometimes squads of them. Writing in the character of someone else and writing for the ear present two big challenges for speechwriters, but there are many others. During our 15 weeks together, we will learn how to address some of those challenges by transforming our classroom into a speechwriting workshop, where no word will be safe from the critical hammer.

Course Objectives

  • To give you a space to work on becoming a better writer, and to help others work on becoming better writers.
  • To recognize there is a range of rhetorical registers that allows one to say something in different ways (and, really, that how one says something changes the something).
  • To help you learn to write in the character of or according to the principles of others, be they particular people, general offices, or organizations.
  • To help you write for the ear.