Wednesday, August 29, 2007

School daze...

So, Jeremy and I are in our second week of school, and it is going very well. I absolutely love being back in an academic environment again. It's been fascinating to learn not only how to do things, but why we, as journalists, do them.

Here's a quick rundown of our classes (which are surprisingly different, even though they all sound the same!):

Monday: Producing Community Journalism -- this class has been the most time-consuming, so far. Not only will we attend 3-hour lectures in the morning, but also production workshops in the afternoon. So far, we've learned page design, PowerPoint, and Excel, and are working on projects in each. Throughout the semester, we'll also learn still photography, videography and other production methods. Very cool stuff!

Tuesday: Issues in Contemporary Journalism -- in this class, we discuss different issues in the journalism field. This week, we are writing papers attempting to define community journalism. I think it's important for us to define it if we are to understand it, but coming up with a definition is harder than it seems. For this class, we'll be reading books, producing weekly papers and working on several other semester-long projects.

Wednesday: Seminar in Communication Theory -- this is a particularly interesting class, because we spend the majority of our class time discussing theories in community journalism. We spend time outside of class reading numerous trade journals and studies, which inform our discussions. Again, this is helping us define what our roles are as reporters, and why we want to do what we do.

Thursday: History of American Journalism -- this class has been particularly challenging for me, in a very good way. It has been ages since I last wrote a research paper, but already I am finding myself perusing British newspapers from the 17th century. Very interesting stuff. Well, at least it is to me!

Emily Amick & I pay attention to history professor, Dr. Julie Williams at Jacksonville State University Library. Photo from Anne Anderson.

Friday: Grand Rounds -- Not only is it the shortest class, but it is also the most interesting. We meet with editors and reporters at The Anniston Star to discuss news coverage as it pertains to certain beats. So far, we have discussed local government, and some of the issues going on in the county. Our weekly outside assignment is to visit a local place to observe activities related to the discussion topic. I visited a very twisted Anniston School Board meeting last week, and wrote about the quick firing of their superintendent.

Our reason for being here, Director and Grand Rounds Professor Chris Waddle. Photo from Anne Anderson.

The classes have all been stimulated, and, while I can see the workload getting overwhelming, it's at least stuff I'm interested in. Right now, I love learning. But after another week or two, I may regress to a desire to cover government meetings and write six stories per week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Intellectual Half

If you get a chance, check out my husband, Jeremy's, blog. His is a bit more "newsy," and just as entertaining. He likes to scan the news and post interesting articles, all to save you the trouble! Plus, he occasionally says something about me, which makes reading it totally worthwhile!!

Better days and rolling with the tide...

As I'm sure many of you have heard, we've had a bit of bad luck here that has made life considerably difficult. Two weeks ago, my great-grandmother, Grums, passed away at the ripe age of 93. I visited with her a few weeks before, and her smile still lit up the room. She still looked at me like the little girl she always loved to play Uno and cards with, and that is the face I will always remember.

Shortly after that, our beagle, Pickle, died. He would have been 5 next month. It was the worst tragedy Jeremy and I have experienced together, as what happened was a horrible accident. To all of you dog owners, if you cage your dogs, I'd advise you to remove their collars everytime. That is all I will say about that.

Anyone who knows me knows what Pickle meant to me. He was my graduation present to myself after finishing my undergrad at Appalachian. I walked across the stage, picked up my puppy, and the two of us set off to Orlando alone. It truly was him and me against the world. He was my only companion for some time, and when I met Jeremy, they bonded instantly. I firmly believe no one could have loved him as much as we did. He was a handful, but he was ours, and we adored him.

Aside from those tragedies, Jeremy and I have endured yet another move, this time to northeast Alabama. We will be pursuing our master's degrees through an innovative program called the Knight Community Fellowship. We are officially University of Alabama students, but we will be attending classes inside the reputable Anniston Star newsroom. For more information on the program, or to take a peek at our biographies, click here.

Throughout the year, Jeremy and I will be participating in a barrage of journalism theory courses. But the one that I believe will be most interesting is one called Grand Rounds. During this course, taught by our program director and newsroom editor, we will participate in discussions about different types of
journalism, attend community events geared toward certain topics and write journal entries about them. I will do my best to post those entries, and other thoughts, on this blog.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time. I know I haven't been in contact much, but as time eases our pain and stress, I promise I will get back to you. Please just know how much I appreciate your support and love.

Wish us luck...