Archive for the 'Journalism' Category

Creative Writing Contest: The Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans


The Jeff Scharlet Memorial Award for Veterans is a creative writing contest for U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel. It’s run by The Iowa Review and sponsored by the family of Sharlet (in photo, above), a Vietnam veteran and antiwar activist who died in 1969. The Review— which is published by the faculty, students, and staff of the famed writing and literature programs at the University of Iowa—will be taking writing submissions in any genre and about any subject matter between May 1 and June 1. There is no entry fee. The judge this year is the award-winning writer and Iraq War veteran Phil Klay.

The first place winner will receive $1,000 and have his or her work published in the Spring 2017 issue of The Iowa Review. Second place receives $750; three runners-up, $500 each.

Here are the contest’s official rules:

  • Submit a manuscript in any genre (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) of up to 20 pages. Prose submissions must be double-spaced. Work must be previously unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are fine, assuming you inform us of acceptance elsewhere.
  • The judge will select winners from a group of finalists chosen by Iowa Review editors. All manuscripts, whether selected as finalists or not, are considered for publication.
  • To submit online, please visit beginning May 1, 2016, and follow the instructions.
  • To submit via mail, please follow these guidelines:
    1. Manuscripts must include a cover page listing your name, address, e-mail address and/or telephone number, and the title of each work, but your name should not appear on the manuscript itself.
    2. If you would like a yearlong subscription to the magazine for the discounted rate of $10, please enclose a check or money order for $10. (Please note that while we appreciate all new subscribers, purchasing a subscription will not increase your chances of winning the contest.)
    3. Label your envelope as a contest entry and note its genre. For example: “Veterans’ Contest: Fiction.” One entry per envelope. (Note: multiple poems or prose pieces can comprise a single entry if the total number of pages does not exceed 20. For instance, you may submit two short stories of ten pages each in a single envelope, with a single entry fee.)
    4. Enclose a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) for final word on your work. Manuscripts will not be returned.
    5. Postmark submissions by June 1, 2016, and mail to the address below.

The Iowa Review
308 EPB
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

More rules:

Current students, faculty, or staff of the University of Iowa are not eligible to enter the contest.

Work is ineligible to win our contest if it is slated for publication before April 2017, whether in another magazine or as part of a book, or if it has been named winner or runner-up in any other contest. Please withdraw work from our contest immediately if these conditions apply.

The judge has been instructed not to award the prize to entrants with whom he has had a personal or professional relationship. Despite reading the entries with author names removed, the judge may sometimes be able to guess the identity of the entrant. Even if he can’t tell during the judging process, he has the right to change his decision if it turns out that the entrant is someone with whom there is any appearance of conflict of interest. Therefore, we advise entrants not to enter the contest if the judge is someone they know personally or have worked with professionally.

‘Reporting Vietnam’ Exhibit to Open in D.C.’s Newseum

Reporting Vietnam,” a multimedia exhibit showcasing how journalists covered the Vietnam War, opens May 22 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The extensive exhibit, held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary commemorations of the 1965 entry of U.S. combat troops into the Vietnam War, will be on display through September 22.

The exhibit features photographs, news footage, music, and other artifacts related to the American news media’s coverage of the nation’s most controversial overseas war–in Vietnam and at home. “Reporting Vietnam” also  includes several documentaries on the war and the antiwar movement, as well as a series of public programs featuring journalists and others discussing the legacy of the nation’s first “televised war.”



Posted on May 20th 2015 in Documentaries, Journalism, Museums, Photography

Writer Query: Vietnam Veteran Interviews

Jack Griffiths, a staff writer at History of War magazine in the U.K., is working on a feature entitled “The Vietnam 50,” and would like to interview Vietnam veterans for it.

“We are looking for veterans who have served in the below operations, events and regiments if possible, but it is not essential,” Griffiths told us:

Battles and Operations – Ia Drang – Khe Sanh – Siege of Hué – Hamburger Hill – Binh Ba

Events – US Marines land – ground offensive begins – Tet Offensive – My Lai massacre – Fall of Saigon

Regiments – Mobile Riverine Force

For more info, email

go to 

Posted on January 24th 2015 in Artistic Queries, History, Journalism, Magazines

A. J. Langguth, 1933-2014

A. J. “Jack”  Langguth, who covered the Vietnam War for The New York Times and who went on to have a long career as an author and journalism professor at the University of Southern California, died on September 1 in Los Angeles. The author of—among many other books—the award-winning Our Vietnam: The War, 1954-1975, was 81 years old.

“Unable to set Vietnam aside, Langguth spent seven years researching and writing Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975 (2000), which won acclaim for telling the Vietnamese side of the story as well as it did the American side, through solid analysis, mastery of detail and deft portraits of pivotal figures, including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem,” his Los Angeles Times obituary noted.

“The book does not develop new arguments or explicitly address the many war issues that still divide Americans,” historian George C. Herring wrote in his 2000 review . “Its strengths, rather, are in its skillful retelling of a well-known story, and in the way it captures the many dimensions of the war.”

Here’s our review of the book, from the October/November 2000 issue of The VVA Veteran:

Making History Come Alive: Jack Langguth’s Readable Our Vietnam

There have been readable narrative histories of the American war in Vietnam. There have been exhaustively researched histories of that war, combining material from original interviews, archival sources, and the best secondary sources. Now comes A.J. “Jack” Langguth’s Our Vietnam: The War, 1954-1975 (Simon & Schuster, 794 pp., $35), a history of the Vietnam War that is both compulsively readable and thoroughly researched.

Langguth, the former New York Times correspondent who teaches journalism at the University of Southern California, focuses on American policy-making in Washington, particularly during the Johnson administration. But he also includes fascinating material on concurrent planning by our Vietnamese allies and by the Vietnamese communists.

Langguth tells his story chronologically; he offers no surprises. But Langguth does bring something new to the table: insights into some of the war’s most pivotal events gleaned from interviews with lesser known but consequential American and Vietnamese eyewitnesses. That group includes William Kohlmann of the CIA; Viet Cong Lt. Ta Minh Kham; Foreign Service Officer Paul Kattenburg; North Vietnamese Army Col. Ta Minh Kham; Nguyen Dinh Tu, a one-time South Vietnamese newspaper reporter; and Jack Smith, the veteran ABC-TV News reporter who fought with the U.S. First Cavalry Division at the 1965 Battle of the Ia Drang.

Langguth also interviewed well-known pivotal players and mined the best primary and secondary accounts. With an eye for the telling anecdote, Langguth uses dozens of individual stories to create this personality-driven saga. The result is a long, compelling narrative. The book is short on analysis, but sets out the politically charged policy-making story of the Vietnam War in a complete and seamless manner.

Posted on September 2nd 2014 in Book News, History, In the Classroom, Journalism, Obituaries

Jay Maeder, 1947-2014

Jay Edward Maeder, Jr., the newspaper columnist and editor and comic strip writer, died of cancer July 29 at age 67. He wrote the “Jay Maeder’s People” column for The Miami Herald and later was city desk editor and columnist for The New York Daily News.

Maeder, who served in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in the Vietnam War, also was the last writer for the comic strip (Little Orphan) “Annie,” from 2000-2010. He was the author of Dick Tracy: The Official Biography.

“Mr. Maeder and the artist Andrew Pepoy updated Annie’s red dress and curly hair and added the pilot and former C.I.A. agent Amelia Santiago, but kept the catchphrase ‘Leapin’ Lizards!'” Daniel Slotnick wrote in The New York Times obituary. “‘I tell people it’s ‘Indiana Jones’ with chicks,’he told The News.”

Posted on July 31st 2014 in Comic Books, Journalism, Obituaries

Malcolm Browne, 1931-2012

Malcolm W. Browne, the former Associated Press and New York Times Vietnam War correspondent best known for taking a much-reproduced 1963 photograph of a Buddhist monk immolating himself  on the streets of Saigon, died August 27 at age 81 of complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Browne was drafted into the Army in 1956 and served in Korea where—among other things—he wrote for Stars and Stripes. After his discharge, the young Army veteran went to work for the Associated Press. He landed in Vietnam in 1961 as the A.P.’s bureau chief in Saigon.

In Saigon in 1963, as his New York Times obituary puts it, “When a Buddhist monk set himself on fire in public that year in protest of the government of South Vietnam, Mr. Browne was the only reporter there, and he captured the stunning moment in a photograph. Several papers, including The Times, chose not to run the disturbing image, but [U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Henry Cabot] Lodge told him he had seen a copy of it on President John F. Kennedy’s desk.”

In 1964, Brown, still working for the Associated Press, received the Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam War reporting; he shared that award that  year with another young Vietnam War correspondent, David Halberstam, who was writing for The New York Times.

After moving to The Times himself, Browne went back to Vietnam for a second tour as a war correspondent. His autobiography, Muddy Boots and Red Socks, concentrates on his military service in Korea and his reporting in Vietnam.

Posted on August 29th 2012 in Journalism, Obituaries

Iver Peterson, 1942-2012

Iver Peterson, a retired New York Times reporter and former Vietnam War correspondent,  died August 1 following treatment for acute myelogenic leukemia. He was 70 years old.

After graduating from Harvard in 1964, Peterson went to work for The Times as a clerk for the famed correspondent James B. “Scotty” Reston in the Washington, D.C., bureau. Peterson then left journalism to work for U.S. AID in Vietnam. He returned to The Times in the war zone to cover the fighting.

He “was one of a generation of young reporters who earned distinction as war correspondents in Vietnam,” Daniel E. Slotnik wrote in his NYT obituary. “Besides his dispatches from combat zones, Mr. Peterson wrote of an American dump scavenged by two Vietnamese villages near Danang; drug use by American soldiers; and the practice by Cambodian soldiers of wearing amulets to ward off bullets.”


Posted on August 16th 2012 in Journalism, Obituaries

Bill Granger, 1941-2012


The acclaimed journalist and novelist Bill Granger died April 22 at the Manteno Veterans Home in Illinois. Granger, 70, who served in the U.S. Army from 1963-65, died of heart failure.

Granger  was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., and grew up on Chicago’s South Side. He graduated from DePaul University with a BA in English in 1963, and then spent two years in the U.S. Army. During his military service in Washington, D.C., Granger worked part time as a copy boy at The Washington Post. After his honorable discharge, Granger was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and later a columnist and editor at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Granger’s first novel, November Man, a thriller, was published in 1979. He went on to write a total of twenty-five mysteries and thrillers, most set in Chicago, under his own name and the pseudonyms Joe Gash and Bill Griffith. Granger and his wife Lori also co-wrote three nonfiction books.

Posted on May 7th 2012 in Book News, Journalism, Obituaries

‘The Best and the Brightest’ Makes a Top Five List


In a wide-ranging interview on the website The Browser, Martin Bell (above), the long-time BBC war correspondent who has covered more than a dozen conflicts, including the American war in Vietnam, discusses five of the most important books dealing with modern wars.

Bell’s list:  Trusted Mole by Milos Stankovik, which deals with a British Army officer in the Bosnian War; Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop, a satirical look at newspapers and war correspondents; Joseph Conrad’s iconic novel, Heart of Darkness; Wilfred Owen’s Collected Poems, which include verses dealing with the poet’s experiences in World War I; and David Halberstam’s celebrated look at Vietnam War policymaking, The Best and the Brightest.

The Best and the Brightest, Bell says, “is an account of how the Americans got into this war. How brilliant people devised schemes that went against all common sense. One of them, of course, was [Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara, who had been president of the Ford Motor Company. They thought that simply by the application of force and intelligence they could make things happen on the ground. But they didn’t understand.”

Bell says that when he was in Vietnam he “saw in 1967 and 1972 this massive application of fire power. But you don’t change people’s minds with fire power. You can, in fact, just alienate them. What Halberstam delivers is an account of how this happened.”

One of the reasons he chose Halberstam’s opus, Bell says, “is because I think it applies today to what the western powers are trying to do in Afghanistan. There are so many parallel structures – the massive application of fire power and not much understanding of the people. To the Afghans, we tend to be just another foreign invader, however well-intentioned. Which is why, like Vietnam, I think it’s an unwinnable war.”

A version of the interview was republished on

Posted on March 14th 2012 in Book News, Journalism

Wallace Terry to Receive Journalism Honor

The journalist, author, and Vietnam War correspondent Wallace Terry, who received the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award in 1989, will be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in January.  In addition to Terry, who died in 2003,  Gwen Ifill, Johnathan Rodgers, Ruth Allen Ollison, and Pat Harvey will be inducted during the ceremonies, which will take place January 26 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. During the last 19 years, NABJ has inducted more than 45 journalists into its Hall of Fame.


“In 1967, Wallace Terry became deputy bureau chief for Time magazine in Saigon. His two years of Vietnam War reporting included coverage of the Tet Offensive and scores of combat missions with American and South Vietnamese pilots,” the NABJ said in announcing Terry’s selection. “In addition to writing for USA TODAY and Parade magazine, Terry was an award-winning author, producer and public speaker.”

Terry’s book, Bloods, an oral history of African-Americans who served in Vietnam, is a classic of Vietnam War nonfiction. He was a good friend of Vietnam Veterans of America, having organized VVA’s big Rendezvous With War academic conference on the Vietnam War in 2000 at the College of William and Mary, and was a regular contributor to The VVA Veteran.

Posted on October 22nd 2011 in Journalism