Button Menu

Award-Winning Journalist James B. Stewart '73 Says He "Learned to Ask the Right Questions" at DePauw

Award-Winning Journalist James B. Stewart '73 Says He "Learned to Ask the Right Questions" at DePauw

October 19, 2015

At a recent conference on the value of the liberal arts, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C., "James B. Stewart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter, told of when he was assigned Stephen Crane’s The Open Boat in his first literature course as a freshman at DePauw University," reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"'The teacher came in and said, ‘What does water mean?’' he said. (Up to that point in his life, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead had been Mr. Stewart’s favorite book.) 'We ended up spending a week discussing the symbolic meaning of water in The Open Boat, and I started learning to read that day.' Learning is not about getting the answers, but about asking the right questions, Mr. Stewart said," writes the Chronicle's Scott Carlson.

Stewart, a 1973 DePauw graduate who is a bestselling author, told the symposium, "Two things have infused all of my work since going to DePauw. One is to take the depth of literature and try to apply that to nonfiction writing, and two, to try to expand our knowledge by asking questions, not regurgitating material that we already know. That’s particularly relevant in the world of the Internet, where almost everything is regurgitated."

Access the complete article here.

The author of the "Common Sense" column for the Business Day section of the  New York Times and former editor of The DePauw, Stewart won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1988 for his articles in the Wall Street Journal about the 1987 dramatic upheaval in the stock market and insider trading. His books include Den of Thieves; DisneyWar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom; Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America from Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff; and Heart of a Soldier: A Story of Love, Heroism, and September 11th.

A member and former chair of DePauw's Board of Trustees, Jim Stewart received the 2011 Elliott V. Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers Association. He has also been honored with the Edgar Award, the George Polk Award and Gerald Loeb awards in 1987, 1988, and 2006.

Stewart received the Old Gold Goblet from DePauw in 2009. In May 2012, he addressed DePauw's Class of 2012 and was presented with DePauw's Bernard C. Kilgore '29 Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in Journalism. A summary of his remarks can be accessed here, or click below for video of his speech.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education