Friday, August 22, 2008

Coming Soon . . .

. . . a new look, a new direction.

Coming in September!

Friday, August 15, 2008


After today, it's officially over.

Today I can still say I AM a Knight Fellow in Community Journalism at the University of Alabama and The Anniston Star.

Tomorrow the verb changes to WAS. Grades have been posted (4.0, thank you very much)and the diploma gets mailed next month.

Already I've been shut out of the UA electronic library system. That hurt.

Yes, I left Alabama almost three weeks ago. Turned in the final version of my master's project (Title: Community Journalism and the Community's Youngest Readers: A Study to Determine the Extent of Newspaper Content Directed toward Readers in Grades 2 through 8) on July 24, packed up, shipped off, yard-saled, and gave away the rest on the 25th & 26th, and left on July 27. Took a side trip to North Carolina and arrived home on August 3.

It was a really good year.

But now it's over.

Today's StoryPeople story reads:

I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there's no laughter, I know they're not for me.

So now I'm listening for laughter, ready to start any time now.

Anyone need a journalist out there?

Monday, August 4, 2008

All Over But the Shoutin'

Oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn't use that for the title of this blog. It is, after all, the title of Rick Bragg's book.

But then titles can't be copyrighted, so technically I'm OK.

And it's a really good title, one that I'm not sure I really understood until now. Because now it really is all over ... but the shoutin' on August 9 when Pomp and Circumstance plays for the gazillionth time and capped and gowned scholars parade past capped and gowned pedagogues and pay homage to Wisdom.

Or something.

I, however, shall participate in spirit only.

So what did I learn this past year?

I learned that trying to define the profession? craft? art? trade? of journalism is like trying to define the boundaries of the oceans. Much depends on the tides, the shifting sands, and whether you're on a boat or on shore.

There are very good reasons for not describing too precisely who is and who is not a journalist -- the Associated Press lists only a high school diploma in its requirements for reporters -- and there are equally compelling concerns about an 'anything goes' rumor-mongering that passes for journalism when the definition becomes too fuzzy.

I learned that most news organizations are three-headed monsters pulling in separate directions, mainly because the business? industry? service? manufacture? of journalism is equally muddled. Financial accounting in the world of journalism is neither strictly based on goods produced nor on services provided. Instead, it's a hybrid. And if you talk to employees in any of the three separate, but supposedly equal (yeah, right) departments -- newsroom, advertising, circulation -- you'll hear three different visions for the company.