Dan Morris-Young visited the class today. I think the visit was a success. What I'd hoped for was that he'd make writing for his newspaper attractive; that is, I hoped the kind of stories he was interested in getting from our students would be stories the students would welcome the opportunity to do. Journalism is not a career, right? It's an excuse.
If his ideas were dull -- religious; narrow; implicitly unbalanced; doctrinaire -- I would not have blamed the students for tuning him out even though a real clip (as we used to call them back in the day) is useful. When it comes to pitching stories to editors, clips are like rabbits: They breed.
I'd talked with him several times before, and he sounded like he knew what he was talking about -- I mean, he sounded like a real journalist, a pro -- but I didn't want to pump him beforehand about exactly what stories he was going to suggest. I didn't want to appear to lack faith! Didn't want to appear *rude.*
To sum up, I liked his story ideas. What hot current issue (he seemed to say) couldn't be turned into a story simply by asking kids, and faculty, at a Catholic college -- no matter what their religious inclination -- what their opinions are and why? Gay marriage; abortion; stem-cell research; the war -- he seemed game for anything, though that could have been his sales pitch. Hope not. Won't know till students actually turn in some copy.
What I'd like to know, of course, is whether or not the kids "read" what he was offering the way I did. Or was I projecting? I've encouraged them and offered extra credit -- even if their stories don't make print. Now I'll keep my mouth shut.