Nothing makes me happier than seeing students achieve success. I’ve been delighted in the progress of a current advertising student, Ashten Conroy, who is making the most of an internship opportunity. Ashten wrote the copy for these radio spots, and was the featured voice talent on the ad for The Promise. Awesomeness! CelebrationLocation ThePromiseGlenRose
November 2nd, 2010 · Uncategorized
Here’s an op-ed I wrote for the Star-Telegram on the deaths of Barbara Billingsley and Tom Bosley.
Leave it to Beaver
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November 2nd, 2010 · Uncategorized
An op-ed I wrote for the Star-Telegram on the 50th anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show.
The Andy Griffith Show
September 14th, 2010 · Uncategorized
Getting burglarized is trying in its own right. The feeling of violation and vulnerability, the sense of betrayal, the loss of peace of mind — these things take a toll.
Nevertheless, I thought I was quite ready to move on.
Then there was an extended power outage that resulted in me typing up a current events quiz for my journalism class by candlelight, and made me fearful about the fate of some delicious Blue Bell ice cream in my freeezer.
Then there was a horrific head cold that made me feel beaten down.
Then, on Saturday, the horrific head cold settled in my chest for a massive asthma attack. The four horsemen had clearly made their visit, and God, I’m all ears.
It’s hard to know what to make of such things in isolation, even harder when they bunch up and hit us all at once. We have a natural tendency to ask what we did to deserve such things, to wonder about the meaning of it all. But I’m not so sure those are the questions we should be asking.
Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Life tends to be more random than we’d like to believe. Perhaps the best thing to do when faced with our own 10 plagues is to ask ourselves how we’re going to respond.
Am I to become a warped, frustrated, bitter man? Or will I try to continue to treat people the way I hope to be treated, regardless of how I myself am treated?
Notwithstanding the challenges of the last few days, I am striving for the latter. The former, I fear, offers no kind of life at all. It forecloses the possibility of seeing that random act of kindness, or the opportunity to perform one. It imposes a dark world view through which it is impossible to see the beauty of the struggle, the value of persistence, the joy of triumphing over adversity.
At one point in time we were offered Eden. We freely chose a different path. But choice by choice, we can make our way back again. Or so it is my hope.
September 7th, 2010 · Uncategorized
I’m hardly a Pollyanna. And yet, at bottom, I trust people. I like to think that, taking one person with another, each of us pretty much follows the Golden Rule and treats others the way he or she wants to be treated.
Granted, the world has known beasts. Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot form a recognizable unholy trinity, and regrettably, it’s not too hard to think of others. Still, I just don’t think most of us run around with malice in our hearts.
That’s why it’s so hard for me to come to grips with what happened sometime Friday afternoon. I left the house at about 12:30 p.m. and returned right about 3 p.m. I was never more than 1.5 miles from home. But at some point during that short window, practically right underneath my nose, a burglar kicked in my front door and stole my laptop, other consumer electronics and cash.
In the final analysis, it’s just stuff. My wife and kids didn’t get hurt. My dogs didn’t get hurt. I didn’t get hurt.
What I can’t get over, though, is a sense of deep and unrelenting anger that someone was in our house uninvited, walking around, tossing drawers, dumping things on the floor.
My concept of home has always been one of a safe haven, that place where I can let my guard down. Home was where I could just be.
Now home is where someone came uninvited and dumped the contents of bedroom drawers all over the floor. Home is where someone stole my money. Home is where my laptop used to be, full of sentimental photographs, class materials and a full i-Tunes library.
I inventoried my losses and read the list to a police officer.
“Is there anything else you’d like to report?” she asked once I’d finished my list.
“You mean besides peace of mind?”
And that, it seems to me, is the problem. I cleaned up the mess the burglar(s) made. Once we get past the deductible, insurance will help to replace the goods that walked out my broken door. But insurance doesn’t cover peace of mind. Insurance can’t replace my previously unflagging belief in the fundamental decency of other human beings. No coverage is extensive enough to restore my sense of home.
Home used to be my safe place. Now home is a crime scene.
August 30th, 2010 · Why blog?
My background in journalism always made me wary of blogging, which is an invitation to opinion as opposed to verifiable facts. I suppose I’m still wary. But this is the 21st century, and unless I want to become obsolete — or worse, irrelevant — it seems like starting and maintaining a blog is the thing to do.
I’m also launching this blog because I’m making the students in my JOUR 2346 — Reporting class blog this semester. Writing is like anything else. We get better with practice. My hope is that, by requiring my reporting students to blog (and tweet), the extra practice will yield dividends in the richness and depth of their media writing and allow them to find their authentic voices.
It also seems to me that, rather than being solely an exercise in narcissism, blogs represent a new and fertile ground to test ideas.
The very idea of ideas can seem a bit quaint, but I remain a firm believer in their power. Lenin came to power through the force of arms, but he was propelled by an idea.
Ideas remain powerful. Just ask the rank and file Chinese, who express ideas at their own peril. Just ask citizens in former Soviet bloc countries, who began with an idea and toppled totalitarian control.
So. I remain wary of blogging. But I’m going to do it anyway, because I’m not going to ask my students to do something I refuse to do and because there are far too many people in the world who can’t.
Because it is my reporting class that proved to be the tipping point in pushing me to the dark side of blogging, many of my posts likely will be related to journalism and the writing craft. But who knows? Inspiration is what it is, and there comes a time when we’re all asked to heed the inner muse.