Professor Jim Toland, who teaches newswriting and newswriting lab here at SFSU, had worked for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years. His career included writing crime, feature and opinion pieces. During this interview, I had asked Professor Toland a number of questions, but his story lies beneath the three questions I asked him. First, how has your [Professor Toland] experiences as a journalist influenced your life? Second, when writing for the SF Chronicle, did you encounter any obstacles while writing certain articles and how did you overcome those obstacles? Lastly, what advice would you give to up and coming journalists who might encounter obstacles in their career?
This interview focuses on the fact that one of his pieces, “ULSTER: A Look At The Troubles” written in 1984 about the war in Ireland. Not many of us know about the war in Ireland (North versus South) and Professor Toland took on the task of explaining it within this piece.
This article not only allowed Professor Toland to grow as a writer, but allowed him to connect with his readers in ways he never has before. Many people wrote letters and gave comments about this article. He overcame many obstacles while writing the story, one being that his editor wanted more information on the topic, and proved his worth with his writing. A former editor of Professor Toland’s nominated him for the Pulitzer Prize, in which he, unfortunately, didn’t win. However, the main success of the article lies within not only Professor Toland himself, but within the interview below. Enjoy!