HNC Home Page
News Business Arts & Life Sports Opinion Calendar Archive About Us
ONE TWISTED SISTER: Musician Dee Snider flashes the devil's horns to the crowd at Monster Circus, a rock mecca in Vegas. Click Arts&Life or a link to story. / Photo by Ben Hansen, special contributor

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


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

The five best classes at USU

By Jason Sanders

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.


Copyright 1997-2009 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
Best viewed 800 x 600.