I’m back where I probably belong. I’m back teaching journalism at one of the finest journalism schools in America. But to me, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism is more than just a top-tier J-school; Scripps is a place that, in so many ways, I fell in love with about 25 years ago.
In the late 1980s and early ’90s, I taught journalism at the university, where I developed a course in sports journalism. More than a decade later, I returned to the Athens, Ohio, campus for a semester in 2003 to resurrect a course in sportswriting that I had developed. I was looking forward to it.
Just as I noticed on my return in 2003, the profession has evolved even more. No longer is the medium of choice for young readers the daily newspaper. Students in my classes now reflect these new reading habits. They get their news — sports or otherwise — from smartphones, Facebook, TV or various Internet sites, not from the local or a national newspaper. Yet their appetite for news hasn’t changed one iota.
In my classes at Scripps, I’m finding young men and women who were eager to learn the ins and outs of journalism (and its related careers). Most of them find the hectic, complicated, angst-filled world of news as intoxicating as those men and women who wrote about news 25 years earlier did.
Yet few of these students know how to acquire the skills needed to break into the competitive work of journalism. They do not have an understanding of the craft of writing. They need guidance, just as I did when I was their age.
My site www.czarjustice.com offers guidance. Through it, I celebrate the things good about writing in the journalistic style. The site includes links, articles and insights into what makes daily journalism – and all genres of journalism, really — the splendid profession it is. It is also a vehicle for discussion of journalism topics, including the future of the profession and its ethics.
In addition, I use the website to share my own prose, which may or may not measure up to the standards of other writers whose work I will showcase.
So feel free to take what you want from my website. Discard or ignore the rest. But enjoy the journey. If you are a writer — or if you want to be a writer — the site will take you places that I hope you will remember.