Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

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

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

Use This Only For Emergencies

When I traveled to Europe the summer after high school, my mom handed me a credit card right before I boarded the plane. She looked at me sternly and said, “Use this only for emergencies.” The next three weeks were filled with “emergencies.”

It was an emergency when I found the cutest jacket at EuroDisney. It was also an emergency when I was starving for a Belgian waffle on the streets of Belgium. The “emergencies” continued until I reached the $500 limit. Continue reading

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Reflecting, Teaching | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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. Continue reading

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Editors Fix. Coaches Build.

In almost every newsroom – student or professional – the animosity between copy editors and writers is often visibly apparent. Copy editors profess about commas and fragments passionately. Writers hold onto their text as if someone is trying to rob every ounce of their being.

Both parties have legitimate concerns. However, when treacherous debates occur, honestly, they defeat the purpose of what both parties are trying to accomplish – producing better copy. Continue reading

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the Road Again as a College Media Adviser

The job of a college media adviser is sticky. Without any control over content or editorial decisions, a media adviser walks a fine line, trying to guide students to practice solid journalism without “taking over” or dominating decisions.

 I bite my nails on a regular basis, I hold my tongue as much as I can, and I try to keep my facial expressions at bay while pointing out the pros and cons of the decisions and proposals my students make. In the end, though, I trust them to go with their instincts and gut feelings. It is after all, their paper, not mine.

Continue reading

February 28, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , | Leave a comment

Meaty Story or Milky Mess?

 I’ve never been one to rush out the night before a “predicted” snow storm and buy up all the milk and bread on the shelves. In fact, I often refuse to go anywhere near the stores when a storm is brewing, especially since I don’t even like milk very much.

But, nevertheless, the rush of a “predicted” storm sends people into panic mode. They break out the survival skills and fill the fridge with necessities as if they will be snowed in for days.

Snow day panic mode is very similar to a journalist’s or writer’s looming deadline. We know it’s coming sometimes days or weeks before and we know what needs to be done, yet we don’t break out our survival skills until 10 minutes before closing time. Continue reading

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Proud to Sweat the Small Stuff

 If you know me well, you know how I fret over the little things. It irritates me when wet towels are left on the floor, when dishes are in the sink and my counters are cluttered.

 It irritates me when my newspaper students don’t even the text off at the end of each story or leave half-empty soda cans next to brand new Macs in the newsroom.

 It irritates me when periods are outside of quotation marks, when story leads don’t have a hook and when text is bold or italics within an article.

I sound neurotic already, but in my mind, the little things really do matter, no matter how much I get irritated. Continue reading

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Parenting, Reflecting, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 3 Comments