Tuesday, January 11, 2011

J-school flashback

Have you heard the personal stories about the victims of the Arizona shooting? They're heartbreaking. The little girl, born on Sept. 11, 2001, who wanted to do something important with her life by helping others. The judge who had just come from Mass.

The elderly man who died protecting his wife.

That last one gets me.

John's poignant piece of a few days ago should stand as a lesson to all journalism students, writers and broadcasters: You each have the power, granted by the Constitution, to say or write pretty much anything you damn well want.

But that doesn't mean you should.

Restraint can often be a journalist's most valuable tool.

On a similar note, I was speaking to a journalist friend today and I was reminded of another memory from my time under John's tutelage in the journalism program at Park University. This one's a little more light-hearted.

My friend was saying he was having difficulty reading his notes from an interview that he conducted a few days ago. It reminded me of a lesson, probably from the first journalism class I ever took with John: when you're done with an interview, always go home or go back to the office and type out your notes while the interview is still fresh in your mind.

I told my friend that after that lesson, I worked very hard to do exactly that - for a few days. Then I decided it took too much time, and I said, "Screw it! I don't need to do this anymore." Sorry, John.

My friend said almost the same thing happened to him.

But listen up, kids: I sure wish I would have kept typing up my notes. My articles would have been significantly better for it.

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