Monday, March 8, 2010

Big city, big journalism, big challenges

What a whirlwind week: Eight days in New York City, which truly never sleeps.

I had the honor of joining 76 other editors, publishers, writers and educators in Columbia University's School of Journalism (in the Joseph Pulitzer World Room!) to judge Pulitzer Prize entries in 14 journalism categories. Each of us took an oath of confidentiality, but suffice it to say that hundreds of journalists are producing damn good journalism -- both online and in print. The quality of what we read over just a few days was exhilarating, challenging and motivating.

And the setting? Columbia's sprawling campus is classic, filled with the spirits of thousands of gifted scholars, writers and thinkers who have walked those halls. One of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the country, the university's roots predate the American Revolution.

And as you walk out of the gates, a subway station on Broadway beckons to whisk you off to the best in music, theater, dining... and history. So much of our national scrapbook is created in that town. Words are defined by the streets and parks and venues stretched from the Upper East Side through SoHo and on to Brooklyn. This also was my first visit to Ground Zero -- an experience even more moving and humbling than we could have imagined.

Today, most of us are back at our real jobs, writing or reporting or editing across the country. My biggest reality check: More than 2,000 emails to be sorted, even with the out-of-office gizmo turned on! My biggest challenge: to hold onto that New York adrenaline and inspiration -- and not let the little town blues take hold.

-- Joan


yachtpro said...

Be it big city or small hometown newspaper, professionalism is the key. When articles are not complete and contain grammatical and spelling errors, constantly, it leads me to wonder what they are teaching in journalism courses in college today. For some reason this newspaper is fraught with these errors in more than one article every day. Use spell-check and proofread people, proofread!

Anonymous said...

Yachtpro give her a break. She's doing the best she can with the limited staff the BH still has. Times are tough and I'm sure those that remain are doing the jobs of 3 or 4 people. They're still putting out the paper every day, and that's more important than making sure all the punctuation and spelling are perfect. Imagine what this town would be like without a daily newspaper. We all make fun of the BH but, at the end of the day, it's an important facet to our community and with all the layoffs in the building and the ad revenue they've lost we, as a community, have to lighten up and let them do their jobs. An NO, for the record, I DO NOT work at the paper, but I'll keep reading it, and supporting it, for as long as they can still keep putting it out. Thank you Joan for everything you and your staff are doing and I, for one, will give the kids you've been able to hang on to, a pass on the grammar as long as they keep up the best journalism they can produce with the resources available to them. Good luck and keep your chin up.