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Russell Frank

A collection of Russell Frank's columns from the past 20 years, titled “Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town," is available from the Penn State University Press. His columns for Statecollege.com won second place in the Humor category in the 2018 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest. The winning columns: One Day at the Zombie Apocalypse Poultry Auction, Deux Nuits à Paris: A French Farce and A Shaggy Dog Story. Frank is a member of the journalism faculty at Penn State. Before launching his academic career, he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist at newspapers in California and Pennsylvania for 13 years. He is, by academic training, a folklorist (Ph.D., UPenn), which means, when you strip away the academic jargon, that he loves a good story. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.

Articles by Russell Frank

More Light! More Light!
Column
More Light! More Light!
2 days ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
As best as I can recall, I stalked and slew my first Christmas tree in 1987. Before that I was a not terribly observant Jewish gentleman who had beheld the rituals of Christmas from afar. [Read More]
California Thanksgiving: Fire and Rain
Column
California Thanksgiving: Fire and Rain
2 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
We came to California ready to strap on the N-95s we’d bought at a paint store in State College. Everybody out there knows what I’m talking about. N-95s are respirators, the good ones, the kind that would keep us from inhaling gasified car parts and other toxic matter that burned in the Camp Fir [Read More]
The New Abnormal
Column
The New Abnormal
4 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
With fires, hurricanes, political corruption and gun violence, the only thing new is the increase in frequency and intensity. [Read More]
And This Little Voter Stayed Home
Column
And This Little Voter Stayed Home
6 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
You’re all planning to vote next Tuesday, right? I ask because, suppression efforts aside, Americans are not the most zealous ballot casters in the world. According to FairVote, about 60 percent of us typically skip a midterm election. As you might expect, there are competing explanations for our [Read More]
Welcome to the 21st Century, Little One! (Oy.)
Column
Welcome to the 21st Century, Little One! (Oy.)
8 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Newborns don’t do much. Most of their tricks are involuntary. Nevertheless, when the newborn in question is your very own grandchild, especially if she’s your first grandchild, every movement and sound is utterly captivating. [Read More]
Old Boys Being Boys
Column
Old Boys Being Boys
10 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
One thing became clear to me while watching the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing last week: These old “lions” of the U.S. Senate have got to go. [Read More]
Don’t Worry, It’s Multiple Choice
Column
Don’t Worry, It’s Multiple Choice
12 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Hello again everyone and welcome to the column-length version of “Freedom of the Press Jeopardy,” the game that reminds you why journalism matters and where the only thing that’s fake is the prize money. [Read More]
Nothing Like That New Baby Smell
Column
Nothing Like That New Baby Smell
14 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Few people noticed when a new human arrived on planet Earth at 12:27 a.m. MDT on Aug. 23. Perhaps that is because she was one of 250 humans born during that minute, one of 15,000 born between midnight and 1 a.m., and one of 360,000 born on that date. [Read More]
The Umpire Strikes Back
Column
The Umpire Strikes Back
16 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Go among the newsroom natives and what you see – surprise! – aren’t cogs in a propaganda machine but humans who are trying like hell to suss out what’s going on in the world and then present it as accurately and compellingly as they can to the public. [Read More]
What I Wouldn’t Do for a Bucket of Blueberries – or a Column
Column
What I Wouldn’t Do for a Bucket of Blueberries – or a Column
18 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I count seven supermarkets within 5 miles of my house. All of them sell blueberries. But for a certain member of my household, farm-raised berries just wouldn’t do, not after backpacking in Yosemite last month wakened the hunter-gatherer within. Our berries had to be wild, free-range, gluten-free, [Read More]
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