Arts & Humanities

Journalism Professor Releases New Book, “Return to the Titanic”

In November, Utah State University journalism professor, Mike Sweeney, released “Return to Titanic,” the new book he co-authored with Robert D. Ballard.
The book details an expedition to the Titanic with Ballard, the sunken ship’s first discoverer, and other oceanographers to determine the ship’s rate of deterioration. 
Sweeney was approached by National Geographic editors last year and asked to join the expedition and write a narrative about the experience. Sweeney has also written two other books for National Geographic, “On the Move” and “From the Front.”
“I was thrilled to be offered the job and immediately said yes,” Sweeney said.  “Who wouldn’t want to go to the Titanic?”
The exploration aimed to do several things, such as document the decay and damage suffered by the Titanic, show the value of using unmanned vehicles to explore the ocean floor and demonstrate the possibility of some day having a virtual museum on the Web so ordinary citizens could visit the Titanic. Sweeney said the return trip to the Titanic did all of these successfully.
According to Sweeney, he spent months doing research that included a five-hour interview with Ballard at his Institute for Exploration. He said he then wrote a draft of the first three chapters of the book, outlining Titanic's story from 1912 to the present, leaving two chapters for the actual voyage.
“Sweeney is a first-rate storyteller whose ‘can't-put-it-down’ narrative is peppered with eye-opening anecdotes,” said a book reviewer from Rainy Day Books. “His deft hand combines with Ballard's own intriguing story of discovery, his masterminding of robots and hi-definition cameras to document the wreck, and his commitment to conservation in the 21stcentury.”
Read more about the expedition and Sweeney’s personal experience in “The Ship That Didn’t Sink into History,” in the winter 2004 issue of Utah State Magazine.

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