Samuel Jacobs '09
Position: Reporter and Editor for Reuters
Field: Journalism & Media
Thesis Title: “Walter Weyl and the Progressive Mind: The Promise and Problems of the New Democracy”
It's hard to imagine there would have been a better place for me in college than the History department--or a better foundation for what I'm doing now. Since graduation, I've worked as a reporter and editor, most recently covering the U.S. presidential campaign for Reuters. I focused on modern American thought. Studying William James may not exactly be the most obvious preparation for reporting on Rick Santorum, but I learned how to write clearly and think quickly. In the best sense, the department encouraged dilettantism, letting us study all over the university, picking up courses that were closed off to students in other concentrations who were occupied by more constricting requirements. I did the most challenging and rewarding reading in college with instructors like James Kloppenberg, Peter Gordon, and Trygve Throntveit. For my senior thesis, I wrote about Walter Weyl, one of the three founding editors of The New Republic. It was great to go into an archive and read letters largely untouched in half a century. Not the best known among his Progressive peers, Weyl's obscurity, despite my best efforts, remains undisturbed.