Blog, Journalism, Teaching

In this Room …

Tonight, after a 13-hour day of teaching and advising, I stood in the doorway of our student newsroom and paused with my head and my heart heavy. It was late and my kids at home were missing me, but I didn’t want to leave.

It was the last production night of the semester and I don’t deal well with the “last” of anything, especially in this room.

An outsider might not see the appeal of the newsroom. It is littered with soda cans, pizza boxes and empty energy drink containers. Papers overflow every desk and cameras are piled unorganized on the corner table. The recycled, dilapidated couch from Goodwill sits in the middle of the room and the floor looks as if it hasn’t seen a mop in a few months, if not years.

However, this room is the most appealing place on campus to me.

This room is where many of my students get bit by the journalism bug. This room is where friendships are made, talents are utilized and sometimes, a little work gets done while 40 people cram together for a staff meeting.

In this room, I’ve conducted orientation and training sessions with each and every student on staff while they nervously (and perhaps while terribly bored) anticipated the journey ahead – a little something we call journalism.

In this room, I watched each and every student grow from an intimidated amateur to a confident professional. It’s where arguments about content, design and photos have ensued and where ethical and legal decisions were made. It’s where the numerous awards hang and where the paper goes to bed every other Tuesday.

Although I have no plans to leave this room anytime soon, many of my students will … and much too soon. Some will walk away with a degree or certificate eager to enter the job market. Others will transfer on to four-year universities on a hot pursuit for another piece of success.

For me, their departure is bittersweet. I’m so proud and excited for the success they are seeking. I want them to grow and learn even more as they move toward their careers.

On the other hand, I don’t want them to leave this room.

I want to preserve the laughter, the jokes, the snarky-ness and the pride that overflows from our corner office in the Student Center. I want to hang onto the motivation they provide for incoming students and the inspiration they bless me with on a daily basis.

I want to wrap the room in a giant bubble and protect them from struggles they may face in the future – heartbreak, rejection, negativity – all inevitable characteristics of the workplace, especially in journalism.

And then I think about what transpires in this room every day. One student mentoring another; editors passing the torch to the next talented group; and the legacy left behind that the new staff is dedicated to preserve.

It doesn’t make goodbye any easier, but it is thrilling to see what this room is yet to discover.

Bittersweet goodbyes turn to bittersweet hellos.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: May 4, 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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


5 thoughts on “In this Room …”

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  1. Shannon, this captures everything I’m feeling about my departure from The Montage and it really pulls at my heart strings. I’m going to miss you and everyone!

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