October 12, 2000
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Ted Conover, journalist and author of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, will speak on Monday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. His talk is free and open to the public. He will also speak in classes at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Conover, a 1980 graduate of Amherst College, takes seriously the advice that a writer should “write what he lives.” He has written four books, and to prepare for each he has taken up a new life. For Newjack, he got a job as a prison guard in Sing Sing for a year. Whiteout: Lost in Aspen (1991) told of his life driving a taxicab at the resort town in the Colorado mountains. Conover traveled with Mexican immigrants to prepare for Coyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America’s Illegal Aliens (1987). Rolling Nowhere (1984), his first book, was the story of his time riding the rails with some of America’s last hoboes.

In a recent interview published in Amherst magazine, Conover spoke about his kind of immersion journalism. “My favorite projects, the very best things I do, tend to be about people on the edge, and tend to present a way for me to put myself in the story—that is, to become a witness, in a way that an ordinary journalist with a deadline and a daily job can’t. To witness means you didn’t just see it, you told.”