Thursday, April 9, 2009

Author, Producer, Singer Todd Johnson Talks at Coker College

Burry Bookstore of Hartsville, SC, hosted Todd Johnson, author of the new novel, THE SWEET BYE AND BYE, at several events in Hartsville on Thursday, April 9. One of those events was a question and answer session with students and community members on the Coker College campus.

When James Jolly, director of marketing and communication at Coker, mentioned this opportunity, I thought it would make a good "simulated" news conference for my Writing for the Media class. There had been no other news conferences in the Hartsville area during the semester. So, I assigned the event as a story and asked students to be prepared with questions so they could write an inverted pyramid news story of the author's visit. This is one event that exceeded my expectations. Several of the students were able to be part of the event and they came ready with some good questions. Other students and even some community members were in the audience, which included about 40 people.

The questions were on target. The author is comfortable with the Q&A set up but most importantly he provides some really meaty answers. Johnson was a history major at the University of North Carolina -- a basic liberal arts focus. That was the connection with which we opened the discussion. As he related how important it is to know how to know he gave a major boost to the entire question of "Why the liberal arts." He also pushed, totally unprodded, the importance of knowing how to write. You will hear some of that in the video.

It seemed like the students who were there really got a lot from listening to this multi-talented author. Even after the session, he helped one student who was searching to find out how to get her writing noticed understand some of the resources available for authors. And, there were several people who purchased the book and got their copies signed.

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