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Best-selling Author Sebastian Junger Plans March 20 MTSU Lecture

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Poster for Sebastian Junger Lecture

Best-selling author, journalist and documentary filmmaker Sebastian Junger, whose first book, “The Perfect Storm,” became a major motion picture, will speak at MTSU on Tuesday, March 20.

Junger’s free public lecture, “Dispatches from War: Stories from the Front Lines of History,” is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre. His daylong visit also includes speaking with classes in the College of Mass Communication and a series of interviews with campus media.

“His visit is the kickoff to a yearlong project I’m organizing to use students to interview and document, via print and multimedia, the experiences of MTSU’s many veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that the wars are almost over, this is the time to record their stories,” said Leon Alligood, a professor in the School of Journalism who was himself embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan and Iraq during his work as a reporter at The Tennessean.

“I’m hoping this time next year we’ll have a multimedia exhibition, and maybe a print product, to catalog these stories,” added Alligood, who teaches“Immersion Journalism” classes in addition to reporting, feature-writing and interactive-media courses at MTSU.

As a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and as a contributor to ABC News, Junger has covered major international news stories in Liberia, Sierra Leone and around the globe. He has received the National Magazine Award and an SAIS NovartisPrize for Journalism.

Junger became a fixture in the national media when, as a first-time author, he commanded The New York Times best-seller list for more than three years with The Perfect Storm, which later set sales records and became a major motion picture from Warner Bros.

Junger and photojournalist Tim Hetherington were embedded for more than a year with a platoon from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in the remote and heavily contested Korengal valley of eastern Afghanistan.

Reporting on the war from the soldiers’ perspective, Junger spent weeks at a time at an outpost that saw more combat than almost anywhere else in the entire country. The result was a book, “WAR,” and a 96-minute documentary, “Restrepo,” that won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Off-campus visitors attending Junger’s March 20 lecture should be aware that nearby construction and classes will limit parking opportunities. Visitors can park in the University’s South Rutherford Boulevard lot and ride the Raider Xpress shuttle into the campus core to reach the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Auditorium, which houses Tucker Theatre. A printable campus map is available at www.mtsu.edu/parking/Map_2011-2012.pdf.

Junger's visit is sponsored by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, the MTSU Distinguished Lectures Committee, the University Centennial Committee, Ideas and Issues Committee, the MTSU School of Journalism, the University Honors College and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

For more information about the journalist’s visit, contact Alligood at leon.alligood@mtsu.edu.