Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

‘You’re Fired:’ Is it Worth Burning Bridges?

I was raised to work and work hard.  Maybe it was because I watched my mother struggle to raise three girls by working multiple jobs or maybe it was because I liked the intrinsic rewards tied to a job well done.

I work hard, I expect others to work hard and I believe that a strong work ethic is the most appealing quality of an employee, and even more, a journalist. Ethics surround our profession. They consume our minds when we choose photos, craft leads, choose quotes and organize facts. They trickle through our veins when we interview both sides to ensure the story is balanced and ask the difficult and often uncomfortable questions. We can’t half-ass it – our readers make us accountable. Continue reading

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May 25, 2011 Posted by | Blog, Journalism | , , , | 5 Comments

I See You: Taking Risks Online

I’m not one to lecture and I hate being lectured to, but when it comes to talking to my students about establishing an online presence, I turn on my ‘lecture’ voice. “Be proud of what you produce because it is permanent.” In the past 5 years, I have uttered these words more times than I care to remember.

Here’s Why: Continue reading

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Silly Little Pumpkin Pie Deliciousness

I’ve never been crazy about pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread or even pumpkin-flavored ice cream treats, but I do have a fascination with the word “pumpkin.” Ever since my daughter was born, she has been my pumpkin. And when my son came along, he became my pumpkin pie.

Twelve years later and I still call them my pumpkins. I text them with embarrassing lovey-dovey notes such as ‘How is my peppy slice of pumpkin pie deliciousness’ and ‘Mommy loves her pumpkin doodle.’ Continue reading

March 6, 2011 Posted by | Blog, Parenting, Reflecting, Teaching | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trudging Through ‘Maintain’ Mode

Sometimes in life, you can’t help but feel beaten down. It seems that anything and everything can go wrong all at once. This week has been one of those for me as a homeowner. My dishwasher is dead, my refrigerator’s motor went caput, my carport started leaking, the check engine light on my car popped on days before my emissions test is due and my furnace has decided to only kick on when it feels like it.

On top of that, I have 60 papers needing grading that keep staring at me with the evil eye and several freelance assignment deadlines this month.

I’ve declared this week my ‘maintain’ week. I can’t possibly trudge forward with zestful energy; instead, I must go through the motions and ‘maintain’ to keep my sanity. Continue reading

February 27, 2011 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | 2 Comments

The Snow-Covered Editor-Writer Relationship

This weekend, my mom got on me about not shoveling the snow off my driveway after the Midwest was pummeled with 12 inches of winter wonderland-ness. My response? “We have 4-wheel drive. Why do we need to shovel?”

I’ll spare you with the ‘you should think of others’ lecture I received after she tried to pull her little car in my driveway and move on to what the conversation inspired me to think about – Editor and Writer Relationships. Continue reading

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , | 3 Comments

Journalists Serve Up Passion

Passion: It sounds like a dirty word or something straight out of a Harlequin novel, but for journalists, passion has nothing to do with romantic embraces or terms of endearment. Passion is a clean and clear sign that a journalist will succeed.

There’s no doubt that good journalists are passionate about what they do and that passion is contagious. It’s our secret, dirty little word that gets us through the day. Continue reading

November 5, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help! Journalists Need Somebody

As a mom, I’ve learned to be resourceful from some of the best moms I know. I’ve learned that Febreeze comes in handy when PE uniforms are crumpled up in a book bag 30 minutes before school starts.

I now know that a quick lick of the finger wipes off cereal crumbs from a child’s face while pulling into school and that luckily, school cafeterias allow ‘charging’ for lunch once in awhile when I’ve forgotten to slip my kids $2 on the way out the door.

In a world where we deem ourselves as independent and self-sufficient, we sometimes forget that resources and a little help from our friends makes a difference in our productivity, performance and most of all, sanity.

But as journalists, we often view ourselves as loners, working on stories independently, hiding the cold hard facts and explosive leads until the published product reveals our hard work and stellar independence. Yes, we proclaim, I did it myself and I don’t need anyone else’s help. Continue reading

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘You’re My Favorite’

We all have favorites – a favorite song, shirt, activity or meal. We also want to be the favorite – the prize-winning student, the angelic child or the loyal grandchild.

I often say to my daughter, “You are my favorite baby girl” and her response is “I’m your only baby girl.” I say the same to my son: “You are my favorite baby boy.” It is my way to show them how special they are to me individually because truly, they are both my favorites and my one and only son and daughter. Continue reading

July 28, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Reflecting, Teaching | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

Although the old cliché sounds corny, laughter really is the best medicine sometimes. Nobody ever died of laughter. In fact, you don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

I love to laugh although others may not appreciate my loud cackle or the snorting that accompanies it. Sometimes, though, I forget how much I love it and how much I need it. Sometimes, I think we even forget to laugh while caught up with the drama of everyday family life, relationships and work-related stress. Continue reading

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Reflecting, Teaching | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m a Scaredy Cat Writer

It may sound incredibly ironic for me to admit, as a teacher of writing and an active freelance writer, that I am deathly afraid of writing. With every project I begin, fear consumes me and I initially panic. I doubt myself and sadly, procrastinate.

And then, I breathe and realize that I’m human.

Fear is a natural reaction for writers. The pressure to create a phenomenal piece that influences the world, inspires a reader and possibly win an award mounts and eats away at our confidence and ultimately, can tear away at the creativity we have the talent to create. Continue reading

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 7 Comments