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David Standish

David Standish

Assistant Professor Emeritus

David Standish has been the editorial advisor for 20 Magazine Innovation Projects. He also teaches magazine writing, a class on how to write a nonfiction book, and modules on freelancing and travel writing. A longtime magazine freelancer, he still writes occasionally for magazines but in the last few years has been concentrating more on books.

He was an editor at Playboy for 10 years, and has written many articles for that magazine. Before coming to Medill he was a freelancer for 20 years, and has written for Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Outside, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, Landscape Architecture, House Beautiful, Reader's Digest, Diversion, Chicago, and others. He has written nationally syndicated travel articles for Universal Press Syndicate. In the mid-80s he was a co-writer of the film comedy "Club Paradise," which starred Peter O'Toole and Robin Williams. He was author in 2000 of "The Art of Money" (Chronicle Books), which was named one of the 10 Notable art books of the year by The New York Times. His latest book, "Hollow Earth,” a cultural history of the idea that the earth might be hollow, was published by Da Capo Press in July 2006, with a paperback edition following a year later. It was widely reviewed, and named an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

Standish believes that the best writers have the most curious, interested minds. Instilling that curiosity—or simply encouraging it—is one of his major goals. To the degree that one thinks and observes the world in a clear, original way, good writing generally follows. Skills, tactics, writing strategy are all important, of course, but thinking well is paramount in becoming a fine writer

Authored Works

  • "The Art of Money" (Chronicle Books)
  • "Hollow Earth” (Da Capo Press)


Standish has a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from Miami University. He completed course work on a Ph.D. in American Studies at Indiana University, but took a long detour into journalism and never finished his dissertation.

Areas of Research

Standish is currently working on a new book, a biography of Stephen Crane focusing on the final four years of his life and his romance with Cora Taylor, who became his common-law wife. Its title is “Because It Is My Heart: Stephen and Cora Crane 1896-1900.”

He is also trying to convince Audubon magazine to send him somewhere far away again so he can see some more exotic birds.

"Out For The Count," article in Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Audubon magazine on a Christmas bird count in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
"Getting Fluent Fast," article in Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Satisfaction magazine on immersion language study abroad.
"If You Had A Hammer," article in March/April 2006 issue of Satisfaction magazine on volunteer building projects worldwide.
"Bird Is The Word," article in May/June 2006 issue of Satisfaction magazine on the joys of birdwatching. “Showtime!” article in the March/April 2008 issue of Audubon magazine about the last wild population of greater prairie chickens east of the Mississippi.
“The Most Beautiful Money in the World” April 2008 – slideshow with text for