word on journalism
May 8, 2009
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
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.
up! Comment on the WORD at
and suggestions --printable and otherwise
--always welcome. "There are
no false opinions."
five best classes at USU
March 27, 2009 | As graduation approaches, I've been
contemplating my experience inside the classrooms. And
let me tell you, I've had it good at Utah State.
The quality of my education has been top notch, and
though I may be a tad bit nervous about entering the
"real world," I feel prepared. In gratitude
of my education, I present to you my Top Five Favorite
Classes. In no particular order, they are:
1- Media Smarts with Jeremy Gordon
I took this class WAY back when I was trying to find
a major, and since I stuck with journalism, it looks
like this is the class that won me over. Never before
had I examined the media with such a critical eye .
. . wow! Two years later, I still think back to this
class while watching TV or skimming through Newsweek.
And Jeremy led us through some great discussions --
everybody has an opinion about the media, and it was
fun to hear them.
2- Communication and Conflict with Dr. Jen Peeples
The first day of class Jen made a bold statement: "Conflict.
You cannot avoid it." It's true. Today when I come
across conflict, my mind floods with the conflict-management
principles I learned. I loved this class, and I must
say Jen is an excellent teacher too.
3- Creative Arts with Dr. Tom Peterson
"Enjoy the arts," we were instructed, and
enjoy the arts we did! This class enhanced my life by
opening my eyes to many wonders -- independent cinema,
Frank Lloyd Wright, Chinese acrobats, musical theater,
modern dance and more. Plus, Dr. Peterson challenged
us to develop our creativity in our day-to-day lives
by exploring new walking routes, changing up your hairstyles
and doodling in your free time. In doing these simple
things, my life has come to life!
4- Beginning Newswriting with Dr. Michael Sweeney
I loved this class and for so many reasons. First and
foremost, it's what got me reading the news. Because
of that, I'm a major news-junkie now. Second, there
was a balanced workload. It was never a cakewalk, but
it wasn't so overwhelming to leave me dizzy. I always
appreciated that. Third, it's given me the confidence
to write. And last, it felt good to get writing tips
from Mike Sweeney. He's an excellent writer with lots
of experience under his belt.
5- Tennis II Intermediate with Mike Banks
Tuesday and Thursday morning have never been so fun.
Beginner or not, everyone should take Tennis II. It
took me from being an amateur tennis player to a . .
. well, less-amateur tennis player. It's important to
break up the monotony of the classroom. Plus, it's a
game you can play for the rest of your life.
Yes, I've learned a great deal, and there are many other
things I've picked up from other classes too. I'm grateful
for Utah State.