Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Roy Peter Clark sings "My Humps"

Poynter guru Dr. Roy Peter Clark popped into the ASNE News Lab today. Little did we know that he would blow us away with an a capella rendition of the Black Eyed Peas hit "My Humps."

Audio: Click here to listen to Clark's performance

"What you gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?" Clark sang. He then pointed at a staffer. "That person right there is about to die."

The vice president of the Poynter Institute -- dressed today in a navy blue suit and conservative tie -- didn't exactly boast the bodacious curves of the pop band's singer, Fergie.

But, Clark insisted, even a song like that could help him teach writing.

"That song is a story," Clark said. "There's character development, there's sort of a narrative line, there's dialogue. It's here in all music."

Bob Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, has seen Clark perform more than once.

"It's all done in the spirit of good humor," Giles said. "It's a useful way for him to break the ice with his audience."

Clark definitely broke the ice with an audience of 80 on Monday at the National Press Club. While promoting his 2006 book, " Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer," he banged out Jerry Lee Lewis's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "Great Balls of Fire."

Music is nothing new to him. At age 15, Clark began playing keyboard in what he calls an "electric surfer music" band. In a nod from one writer to another, the band went by the name T.S. and the Eliots.

- APRIL YEE / ASNE Reporter

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