Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching

‘Grown-Up’ Journalists

I’m the first to admit that I’m a biased teacher. Just as I think my kids are the best kids ever, I also think that I have the best journalism students ever. I see firsthand how hard they work and the dedication they put into perfecting their craft.

I watch them closely in the newsroom as they consult with each other on ethical issues, scramble off to interview sources and torture themselves while writing and re-writing story after story.

I’m proud to be a part of the environment, part of their challenges and part of their successes. They never cease to amaze me with their professionalism.

Yesterday, was one of those days where I felt all tingly inside about working with students. We were discussing a controversial news story in an editor’s planning session and the group of 10 editors each spoke respectfully and carefully about how to approach the story.

 Not once did anyone berade another staffer even though not everyone was in agreement. Not once did anyone suggest taking a shortcut or the “easy way out.”

The conversation then turned to the anticipated April Fools’ issue that the staff prepares each year. After a lengthy discussion, the editors made the decision to eliminate the annual “fake” issue in light of the importance of reporting the controversy on our campus in a serious manner. It was a tough decision – this is a fun and light-hearted issue for our staffers, it is a chance to mock and laugh at journalism and take The Onion’s approach to news.

However, the students ultimately decided that their credibility as journalists was worth the sacrifice. I sat back (as silent as I could possibly be) and watched in amazement as they spoke about the importance of maintaining the reputation of the paper and the staff.

For me, the experience was similar to watching one of my own children take their first step or ride a bike successfully. They were experiencing the same type of freedom and independence. They were taking ownership for their actions and evaluating the consequences.

After the decision was made, our copy editor sighed and said, “I feel like such a grown-up.”

And I feel so very proud.

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– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: March 11, 2010

 © Shannon Philpott, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and shannonphilpott.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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March 10, 2010 - Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. You are such a wonderful teacher, mother, sister,daughter, and friend. Your students are lucky to have you just as we are blessed to have you in our lives…Love ya sista

    Comment by Dana | March 10, 2010 | Reply

  2. I, too, have the same opinion as your sista.

    Comment by Anonymous | March 18, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thank YOU! I’m blessed to have such a wonderful job!

    Comment by sphilpott | March 18, 2010 | Reply


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