I’m going to miss the group of Wayne State students we have working for GrossePointeToday.com this term. They’re smart, energetic, capable, everything a hyperlocal website needs. What’s more, they’ve given me something every editor wants over time — improvement. It’s a pleasure to handle their copy.
Every so often people ask what I tell journalism students about their prospects for a career in journalism. Over time, I’ve developed a short speech. It goes like this: “I don’t know what your future holds for your chosen field. Recent events would suggest the outlook is grim. The very best of you will probably get work somewhere in journalism, but most of you won’t have it easy and some will strike out. Change your major while you still have time, but stay in this class to learn to be a better observer, a sharper questioner, a less credulous media consumer and a more careful writer. They are skills that will serve you in any field you choose.”
How does that sound? I can’t lie to them, but I believe what I tell them: Studying journalism will, if nothing else, make them better news consumers, and brother, we need those more than ever. Last night at the gym, I grabbed the last treadmill for a 20-minute speed-walk to nowhere, and found myself face-to-face with the TV tuned to Fox News. Glenn Beck was on, and even the closed-caption Glenn Beck is hard to take. G. Gordon Liddy was pimping gold during the commercial breaks, alternating with Beck pimping his book. I considered for a minute when the last time I heard gold touted as a serious investment option outside of the apocalypse-now media. The early ’80s, I guess, the time of runaway interest rates and dark mutterings in corners about Krugerrands vs. Maple Leafs. Which reminded me of a police report I saw recently, in which the officer noted the homeowner’s loss to thieves: One Rolex Oyster, several coogerands. I can say with authority that journalism has taught me to spell the South African gold coin correctly.
(Although I always have to check. Two Gs and one R, or the other way around?)
And now it’s time to go. Editing copy put me behind, and now I’m off to the gym and various holiday/maternal obligations. Lucky for me I got a whole extra hour of sleep today and Alan made coffee so strong I’m risking v-fib. Today’s question: How much of your formal education have you left behind in your life?