Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever will deliver The University of Montana’s annual T. Anthony Pollner Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22 in the University Center Theater.
Stuever, the 2012 Pollner Distinguished Professor in UM’s School of Journalism, will present “Liner Notes for the End of the World: My Adventures in Covering American Pop Culture.” Stuever has worked at The Washington Post as a features writer since 1999 and is the author of “Off Ramp,” an essay collection about American life, and “Tinsel,” a nonfiction book about the emotional and economic impact of Christmas.
Stuever’s lecture will focus on the ways our everyday lives intersect with mass media and entertainment culture and how to get real, human stories out of those encounters. Stories such as people sleeping in front of stores on Black Friday to buy the new i-device, trying to become Miss America (or Miss Anything), experiencing hubris as they start a rock band or try to become a TV star and planning an extravagant wedding like they see on reality TV.
“Most of us are born, live and will die in an America of box stores and quasi-celebrities,” Stuever said. “My work always has been about telling those stories as intimately as possible. But also being a wry observer, even a critic, of where society is headed. These stories can be funny or sad, depending on the reader’s point of view, but they should always make you think more deeply, even about the things that seem trivial and nonsensical. That’s good journalism.”
The T. Anthony Pollner professorship was created in 2001 in memory of Anthony Pollner, a UM journalism alumnus who died two years after graduating. A distinguished journalist is in residence at the school each fall semester and teaches a course, advises the student newspaper and delivers the Pollner lecture. Stuever is UM’s 12th Pollner professor.