Storyteller shares secrets of writing success with Temple students

By Sarae Gdovin
Communications student

Jeffrey Robinson, JOUR ’67, has spent his career traveling the globe seeking out stories and learning how to uncover the great ones. A graduate of the first class of the School of Media and Communication (then called the School of Communications and Theater), he has since written 27 books, 700 newspaper and magazine articles, screenplays and more for publications around the world.

Last week, Jeffrey Robinson, JOUR ’67, visited Temple to share some of his secrets with students in a short master class. (Photo by Daniel Pelligrine)

Last week, Robinson visited Temple to share some of his secrets with students in a master class, “Turning Pro.” “There are stories everywhere, you just have to go out and find them,” he said.

According to Robinson, the transition from being a great college writer to a great professional writer is equivalent to the journey of college basketball player moving into the NBA. It’s a gap the size of the Grand Canyon, but it can be done, he said.

Throughout his career, Robinson discovered the secrets to making it all come together. Within hours of his first job as a station writer at KYW-TV, he learned the first one. “You have to tell good stories,” he said. “You have to make the shift from a writer to a storyteller.”

One piece of advice he offered the audience was to write out loud.  “If you take one thing away from tonight, take this — it will change your life. Nothing great was ever written silently,” he said.

Junior Kandace Khor was inspired by Robinson’s words of wisdom. “I’ve always considered writing professionally as a career, but I was never confident in my abilities to make it in the very competitive field,” she said. “His tips really showed me that accessing this field is possible if you want it enough.”

And as for writer’s block, the dreaded affliction that leaves many writers at a loss for words, literally, Robinson told the students, “There is no such thing — it’s laziness,” he said.

“Just sit down at the table and start writing. No one is going to stop you.”