Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

‘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

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

Story Sources are E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E

One common complaint that I field in my journalism classes is that students have difficulty finding sources for stories. “So-and-so won’t talk to me because I’m not a ‘real’ reporter” or “I sent three e-mails, but I never heard back” is what I typically hear.

My first response: You ARE a real reporter, so act as if.
My second response: Pick up the phone. Don’t rely on e-mail.

The reality is that sources are everywhere. They are hiding in their offices on campus, protesting on downtown streets, voicing their beliefs on Facebook and tweeting their opinions. As a journalist, your task is to find them, track them down and get the interview. Continue reading

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘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.

Continue reading

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Contests: Guessing Game or Gut Reaction?

I’ve been playing a guessing game all day. It involves guessing what other people think, what they value and what they like. It’s called the contest game and it’s a game I hate to play every year.

The game is part of my job as a college media adviser. At the beginning of each year, my students and I pour over a year’s worth of newspapers and select entries in 27 categories for the Missouri College Media Association’s annual contest. Continue reading

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments