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The Dennis Jackson stipends

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The Journalism Program's general internship support fund is informally called the Dennis Jackson fund because it was launched as part of Jackson's retirement celebration. The stipend is awarded to students with unpaid summer journalism internships, and it ranges in amounts to cover costs from transportation to housing.

Interested students should send a resume and letter that lists year of graduation, previous journalism experience (remember, working on The Review is a great way to get experience), GPA and any other relevant information or details to the internship director at  journalism@udel.edu.

Applications are accept on a rolling basis; those who apply early will be given additional consideration.

'Meeting Dennis made all the difference in my life.'
Dennis Jackson

​Dr. Dennis Jackson, who retired from the Department of English in 2007, was an early and dedicated supporter of journalism at UD.

​When Memorial Hall was renovated in 1999, at least one faculty member was less than enthusiastic.

Dr. Dennis Jackson, a professor of modern literature and an early director of The Journalism Program, looked at the original building's steel girders and pipes as a teaching metaphor.

"To me, the old classroom was a challenge," he told The Review in 1999. "I always wondered, 'How can I get these students from this environment to The New York Times?'"

One way Jackson hoped to get students to The Times was to improve their writing. He is a co-editor, with John Sweeney, of "The Journalist's Craft: A Guide to Writing Better Stories," which Chip Scanlan of the Poynter Institute calleda "feast of inspiration and advice."

The book was an outgrowth of the Wilmington Writers' Workshop, which ran from 1991 to1997 and drew such celebrated writers as Hugh Mulligan of the Associated Press ("There are three basic rules to good writing. Unfortunately, no  one knows what they are.") and James Michener. Jackson contributed two chapters to the book, "Rhythm's Cousin, Cadence" and "A 'Stylecheck' for Your Writing."

Sons and Lovers bookcover

​Dennis Jackson wrote the afterword in the 2005 Penguin edition of "Sons and Lovers."

Rhythm, Jackson wrote, was elusive.

"We struggle for words to describe the rhythms we hear in nature (sloshing lake waters) or music (reverberating gamelans), or the ones we see in paintings or other visual arts. Most reporters cannot define rhythm after they've accomplished some of it in stories. And few editors are able to tell reporters how to generate it when it's missing."

Cadence, however, involves content, a "happy wedding of syntax and substance. Cadence results in your story when you place the right things in the right places at the right times."

Jackson found cadence in his scholarly research as well. Editor of four books of essays on D.H. Lawrence, former editor of the D.H. Lawrence Review and a president of the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America, Jackson knew Lawrence's writing well.

In his afterword in a 2005 edition of "Sons and Lovers," Jackson noted the author's cadence in describing the aftermath of Annie and Paul giving their mother a fatal dose of morphine:

Annie huddled into the dressing-gown. Paul wrapped himself in a brown blanket. It was three o‘clock. He mended the fire. Then the two sat waiting. The great, snoring breath was taken—held awhile—then given back. There was a space—a long space. Then they started. The great, snoring breath was taken again. He bent close down and looked at her.

“Isn’t it awful!” whispered Annie.

He nodded. They sat down again helplessly. Again came the great, snoring breath. Again they hung suspended. Again it was given back, long and harsh. The sound, so irregular, at such wide intervals, sounded through the house. Morel, in his room, slept on. Paul and Annie sat crouched, huddled, motionless. The great, snoring sound began again—there was a painful pause while the breath was held—back came the rasping breath. Minute after minute passed. Paul looked at her again, bending low over her.

“She may last like this,” he said.

Jackson wrote: "Those twenty-three sentences include 159 words and average a scant 6.9 words each. For Lawrence, those are unusually short sentences, especially with so many of them appearing in contiguous fashion. (By contrast, the novel’s opening paragraph includes six sentences that average twenty-four words each.) But Lawrence is using the short, clipped prose here to replicate the slow crawl of time. Short sentences (with their frequent hard-stop periods) make for slower reading than a series of long sentences."

Jackson wrote widely and was honored repeatedly for his research and teaching. For one student, though, what mattered was Jackson's ability to inspire.

"I was an aimless, mediocre English major when I took Dennis Jackson’s 'Introduction to Journalism' class," wrote Cris Barrish, a longtime reporter for the News Journal and now with WHYY. "Dennis and his fascinating stories about interviewing, reporting and writing captured my imagination. He praised my work and even though I didn’t work for The Review, recommended me for a part-time sportswriter/clerk job at the Wilmington newspaper, where he had forged strong ties.

"Meeting Dennis made all the difference in my life. I would never have become journalist, let alone a successful investigative reporter, if not for Dennis Jackson."

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The Dennis Jackson stipends
  • The Journalism Program
  • 207 Memorial Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • 302-831-3870
  • journalism@udel.edu