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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD


The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Ultimate Fighting Championship's 'paper champion' and USU alum encourages students to train in multiple disciplines

By Nathan Laursen

April 3, 2009 | Students should make use of the tools and resources at Utah State and mimic the multidisciplinary training of mixed martial artists as a plan for success, said alumnus Eric Hone last Friday as the invited speaker for the Alumni Speaker Series for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Hone, who graduated in 1994 with a degree in political science, is now a practicing attorney and co-chairs the sports and entertainment law division for law firm Lewis and Roca in Las Vegas. Hone, who specifically represents the mixed martial art organization the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), said, "There are similarities to the world of mixed martial arts and Utah State, and you have the opportunity as students at Utah State to get multidisciplinary training."

Mixed martial arts is based on an ancient greek olympic sport, said Hone, and in order to excel athletes must train in a variety of disciplines. Hone entitled his speech, "From the Quad to the Octagon," and said students at USU must have a multidisciplinary training in order to be successful in their lives. Along with academics, Hone said students should seek training in the categories of confidence, life balance, loyalty, integrity, social life, and hard work.

"There are things you can do to make sure you are well-rounded," Hone said.

Hone gave examples of the role these disciplines have played in his own life as well as the lives of those that he has observed during his career. Hone told the story of the rise of the UFC and how it overcame public disregard and a reputation of being brutish. He pointed out that despite popular condemnations from leaders like Senator John McCain, who referred to the sport as "human cockfighting," two casino-owning brothers were willing to take a gamble. Hone said the risks and hard work of the Fertitta Brothers reconstructed the sport and got it sanctioned and increased its popularity.

As the UFC became more popular, Hone said many upstart promoters started to try and make money off of mixed martial arts. Hone became involved in legal attempts to stop a company known as the International Fight League (IFL) from using materials and information taken by a former UFC employee. After a week of late nights, hard work, and dedication Hone and the UFC were granted the motion by the judge. On the way back to the office that day, Hone said UFC President Dana White said Hone was "the new champion" and gave Hone a UFC Championship belt.

Hone, who grew up on fruit farm in Brigham City, said hard work is one of the disciplines students at USU should value and develop. Hone said that hard work can make up for intellectual inabilities.

"Write your paper. Put it down, and then look at it and do it again," Hone said. "Make sure you put forth all your effort if you are going to succeed."

Hone said students should pick their courses wisely and not take the easy route. "Take courses that are tough," Hone said. "No one became an MMA star by only practicing against weak opponents, or by not taking their training seriously." He said students should study different areas and have two majors or at least a minor.

Hone encouraged students to "make the most of the best resource" they have at Utah State, and that it wasn't books or lectures but the time spent with professors. He said students should seek their professors out instead of just going to their lectures and doing the assignments they give.

"One of the things that is great about Utah State, and one of the things that I value most from my time here," said Hone, "is the fact that there is an extremely highly qualified faculty and staff here that has come not just from all over the United States, but from all over the world."

Hone said the professors are one of the most valuable assets that students have and they should make more of them than they actually do. He said getting referrals from professors was important but the greatest value was the confidence that could be generated by getting their feedback and opinion.

Hone, who went to Duke University for law school, said his education there was not better or worse than USU, but different. He said the summer before he went to Duke was wasted worrying and being nervous that he wasn't prepared enough to be a competitive student.

"Utah State more than adequately prepares you for going to any college or graduate program," Hone said. "There are some very bright students here at USU for you to compete and interact with. Just because you are not at Harvard or some other school doesn't mean you aren't a good student or that you are not going to exceed in life."

Hone said the campus life at USU is an "incredible opportunity" to develop a social network of diverse students from different backgrounds and opinions that students can use in their professional life. Hone said balance in life is important and Cache Valley provides not only a great university but a great opportunity to develop recreation habits. He said developing an addiction to snowboarding or golfing while obtaining an education at Utah State is something students can carry on with them.

Loyalty was another discipline Hone said students should train themselves in.

"You can develop loyalty just for the sake of developing loyalty," He said. "Be a Utah State football fan even when they stink, because sometime down the road they're going to be good."

KS
MS

 

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