Steve LopezThe University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) is launching Words Worth, the SOJC’s individual common reads program. Words Worth will be part of the SOJC Writing Initiative, which is a concerted attempt to address students’ writing skills and the importance of writing in their careers. Specifically, the Words Worth program aims to promote excellent and important journalistic writing and encourage students to read.

“The goal of the program is to highlight print journalism that matters, to show students that stories change lives, and to emphasize that amid all the new media around us, words continue to be a powerful way to tell stories,” says SOJC Professor Lauren Kessler.

The program will begin with 300 students receiving free copies of Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist Steve Lopez’ multi-award-winning book “The Soloist.” Lopez will visit the SOJC on November 4-5 to speak with students in various classes, including Grammar for Communicators, Reporting I, Reporting II, and Feature Writing and Ethics. Additionally, five students in SOJC classes will be given the opportunity to interact with the author.

“The Soloist” is a compelling story of homelessness, mental illness and the transformative power of music. The book is a Los Angeles Times and New York Times bestseller and winner of the PEN USA Literary Award for Non-Fiction. Aside from his literary accomplishments, Lopez’ television reporting for public station KCET has won three local news Emmys, three Golden Mike awards, and a share of the Columbia University DuPont Award.

Lopez’ experience and expertise will offer SOJC students valuable writing skills and industry insight. The SOJC is thrilled to welcome this accomplished writer and highlight the importance of strong writing skills.

Story by Nicole Rideout ’16