Saturday, February 5, 2011

John Woestendiek

Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter John Woestendiek is a 33-year newspaper veteran. Most recently, he worked as the features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes and produces the popular dog website ohmidog! which gets over 1,000 hits a day. Woestendiek has also worked for the Arizona Daily Star, Lexington Herald-Leader, Charlotte Observer, and Philadelphia Inquirer. He has recently served as the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism. In 2003 he was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.

Woestendiek's new book is Dog, Inc:The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man's Best Friend.

A few weeks ago I asked him what he was reading.  His reply:
For most of 2009, I was reading almost entirely dog books – partly in connection with research for my book, partly because I produce a dog website, ohmidog!. The one that stands out in my mind was Inside of a Dog, by Alexandra Horowitz, which provides a lot of insight into what makes dogs tick, and how dogs make us tick.

For most of 2010, I’ve been on a steady diet of John Steinbeck.

He has always been one of my favorite authors, but after finishing Dog, Inc., in May of 2010 – inspired by him, and by being unemployed – I took off on a road trip across America (two laps) with my dog, Ace.

The idea was (and is) to put together a modern day version of Travels With Charley, Steinbeck’s classic work about touring the U.S. with his poodle. I figured while I may not be the writer John Steinbeck was, Ace is a far more fascinating dog than Charley. So we traveled for eight months, covering 22,000 miles, visiting animal shelters and sanctuaries, shacking up in cheap motels, tents, on a boat, in a camper, with a stranger and so on, attempting to spend no more on our travels than I was for rent and utilities while I was stationary. Our adventures are recounted on my website.

In recent months, I’ve read my well-thumbed, marked and dog-eared paperback version of Travels With Charley more than 10 times (getting something new out of it each time), reread much of Steinbeck’s other work, and am still working my way through the voluminous John Steinbeck, Writer, Jackson J. Benson’s biography, previously entitled The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer.
Visit John Woestendiek's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue