Moderated by Anna Fletcher, Duke University Press
With panelists David Boardman, Temple University; Sam Howe Verhovek; and Melissa Tizon
Alex Tizon’s Invisible People: Stories of Life at the Margins (Temple University Press) reflects the span of a journalist’s career recounting immigrant, refugee, and Indigenous people’s experiences. The Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee selected this text for the Community Reads program for its engagement with structural inequality in an international context. The book also offers a way for university presses to think critically about underrepresented voices, perspectives, and experiences—especially as it pertains to their own lists.
Tizon was a Filipino American journalist whose search for his own identity prompted him to chronicle the lives of others. Tizon’s writing is full of vivid, telling details as he demonstrates considerable empathy and compassion for subjects ranging from immigrant Hmong orphans to a Muslim Family in Wyoming, or Katrina survivors in Alaska, or Surfers for Jesus, among others. Tizon spent his career telling the stories of marginalized people’s lives, culminating in “My Family’s Slave,” his Atlantic magazine cover story about Lola, the woman who raised him and his siblings under conditions that amounted to indentured servitude.
Panelists will discuss Tizon’s life and work, how the book came together, and how it provides a window for teaching and learning in a variety of contexts. Moderator Anna Fletcher will talk about her experience as Tizon’s student. In addition, Tizon’s Seattle Times editor, David Boardman; his colleague and the book’s editor Sam Howe Verhovek; and his widow, Melissa Tizon, will share their observations and memories.
Alex Tizon (1959–2017) was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist whose writings include numerous articles for such publications as the Seattle Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Atlantic, as well as the memoir Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self.
About the Panelists:
David Boardman is Dean of the Klein College of Communication at Temple University, one of the largest programs of its kind and winner of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Equity & Diversity Award. Previously, he was executive editor of the Seattle Times, which under his leadership won four Pulitzer Prizes and had 10 Pulitzer finalists. He is chair of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, and of The Markup, a digital site focused on technology and society. He is the recipient of awards from Harvard University, Northwestern University and the University of Washington, and won the Society of Professional Journalism’s National Ethics Award.
Sam Howe Verhovek is a former reporter for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and the author of Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World. He is also a contributing writer for National Geographic and an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University and the University of Washington.
Anna Fletcher is the Journals Marketing and Sales Specialist at Duke University Press. New to the publishing world, she holds a journalism master’s degree from the University of Oregon where she was privileged to take Alex Tizon’s Story Development class in 2017. She is active in Duke University Press’s Equity and Inclusion Taskforce, serving as co-chair for the Mentorship Program and the Training Resources working groups. In August, she co-facilitated a press-wide book study on Invisible People with Cathy Rimer-Surles.
Melissa Tizon is the widow of the late Alex Tizon, whose essays and feature stories are captured in the posthumous anthology Invisible People: Stories of Lives at the Margins. She is a former journalist and currently serves as Associate Vice President for National Communication for Providence St. Joseph Health, a health system serving the Western U.S.